Students battle homesickness, anxiety

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

Jose Herrera / Winonan

Being away from family can be tough on new students. Having different lifestyles than what they are used to can cause symptoms of not only homesickness, but depression and anxiety as well.

Maddie Swenson, a first-year Winona State University student, said she has figured out ways to cope with the feelings.

“One of the ways I was able to deal with depression is by setting a scheduled time to talk to my parents via Skype, along with SnapChatting with my friends as a way to feel closer to them,” Swenson said.

“Health and Wellness services at Winona State seems to be doing something right in the eyes of freshmen students,” Swenson continued. “I go to counseling services, and then it kind of helps with being able to talk about home sickness.

Samantha Herberg, another a first-year student at Winona State, has also been dealing with homesickness.

“I’ve had a lot of homesickness since I got here,” Herberg said. “I would say that my homesickness is more in the form of anxiety, as opposed to depression; a little bit of restlessness for being in a new place and new location.”

One thing that helped Herberg, as well as other first-year students, are friends at Winona State, as well as counseling services.

“I play sand volleyball every night or a few time a week with my friends, just trying to distract myself from being lonely or missing home,” Herberg said.

Lynda Brzezinski, one of the counselors at Winona State, said the majority of students who come in for counseling deal with anxiety and depression.

“Any age group struggles with anxiety and depression. A lot of the first-year students struggle with anxiety, often related to being away from their supports for the first time,” Brzezinski said.

Lynda continued also mentioned other services offered at Winona State, such as an anxiety seminar that is offered twice a year. A way to reduce both of these issues, according to Brzezinski, includes changing your eating habits and getting enough sleep, as well as being active.

“It is hard to concentrate here at Winona State when you are struggling with anxiety or you’re feeling depressed,” Brzezinski said.

Although getting an adequate amount of sleep and eating a healthy diet do not eliminate the immediate cause of homesickness, these habits are helpful when starting a successful college career.

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