Homesick for Days

by Tolu Taiwo

One foot in, one foot out: how I am both loving life and missing Illinois

I am unexplainably, undeniably, and more than a little bit embarrassingly homesick.

Don’t get me wrong: I love Colorado State University and Fort Collins. I’m slowly but surely starting to feel like this place could be my home. I’m exploring, and figuring my niche places around town (I already have my favorite coffeeshops and late-night junk food places picked out, so you just know I’m making progress with adjusting). Although the month of October is an…interesting one for graduate students (read: difficult), I feel that I have a growing support system between my friends in the cohort, my supervisors and advisors, and my outside-SAHE-friends. Things aren’t perfect here by any measure, but I’m still so grateful and excited to be in my program, and proud of myself that I stepped out of my comfort zone and moved away from the state that I lived in for most of my life.

However. My mom called me today and gave me a throughout update on how my family is doing, and I felt like an absolute traitor for not being at home. My partner and I went out to an Old Chicago the other day, during which I questioned him for about ten minutes on whether the pizza would live up to my Chicago-style standards (Real answer: kinda-ish). My undergraduate institution’s Homecoming Week is going on right now, and I’m currently researching ways I can clone myself so I could both go to the parade on Friday and stay here for my supervision training and Residence Life events. Also, if I don’t have a Portillos hot dog soon, I will seriously throw down. Someone should have airmailed me one yesterday.

This homesickness business is tricky. It isn’t like it was during the early days of my SAHE program, where I sobbed for hours about missing my best friends. As I said before, I’m falling more and more with where I am, physically, and developmentally as a graduate student. It’s more of an unsettling, sinking feeling, a wave of small sadness when I see Homecoming statuses on Facebook, a tiny pang when one of my students talk about how she went home to Chicago last weekend. I don’t feel like buying a plane ticket home this instant…but then again, do feel like buying a plane ticket home this instant. It’s all very confusing, and I wish I were more settled here, and now all I can think about is a Portillos hot dog. I didn’t even like hot dogs before I left. What. Is going on?

Usually I have a list of answers, or I’m able to attest my behavior to a developmental theory or two and move on. However, sometimes that doesn’t work, and this time I am 100% asking you, the readers for advice: how do I curb this feeling called homesickness?

Also. If there are student affairs professionals or grad students who live near Chicago who want to try a fun experiment and see if hot dogs stay fresh after a couple of days in the mail, don’t hesitate to tweet at me.

Student Affairs - the First Years

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