Content Warning: Depression, Academic Stress, Loneliness, Homesickness
Last winter semester was the first time I had lived on campus. Prior to that, most of my college experience was all online. It was scary to think that I would be living away from home because growing up, I was very much sheltered. I didn’t go to friends’ houses, sleepovers, or go out with them. I spent a lot of time at home, so to think I would be away from home was a scary thought. When I was a little girl, I always looked forward to moving to college with the help of my parents. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. In 2020 and 2022, both of my parents moved back to Mexico due to some unforeseen circumstances. My parents will be unable to come back to the United States since they are undocumented. At the time, it hadn’t occurred to me that they wouldn’t be able to move me onto campus.
So, it wasn’t a great way to start the semester. I continued to miss my parents tremendously, but I missed them more during moments like that. The semester started and I had grown accustomed to my classes, but I just couldn’t get used to living there. I hadn’t really made any friends and so the feelings of loneliness started to surface. I would talk with my parents, but I didn’t want to make them worry so I didn’t share how I was feeling. They had immigrated to the United States to give my siblings and I a better life and a better education. I felt like if I shared those feelings with them, I would have let them down in some way. Both of my siblings were still living at home, but they were busy with their own work and school, so we weren’t talking much anyway.
I want to say it was around mid-February when things really took a turn for the worse. My coursework had been ramping up, I was having trouble sleeping, had no friends, missed my parents, my home, and felt so alone. Now thinking back on it, I couldn’t even recognize myself. For those who know me, I always have a smile on my face; it is literally my default face. Slowly, that smile faded away.
There was around a two-week period where I did not want to get out of bed. My appetite was gone, and I would just let the days pass by. I kept up with my coursework because academics is something very important to me due to the sacrifice my parents made. I think I hardly talked to anyone during that time and spent most of it in my dorm room alone. I was just so sad and would cry multiple times a day; I felt like I couldn’t tell anyone and didn’t know how. In my mind, I didn’t want to bother anyone with my problems when I knew everyone else was going through problems of their own.
It wasn’t until one evening I decided to call my parents and tell them everything I was feeling. It was scary, but I’m glad I shared those feelings with them. They were beyond supportive and gave me lots of encouragement. I truly felt a weight lifted off my shoulders because I finally had told someone. Carrying all those feelings was really weighing me down, and I was drowning. Because of that phone call, my parents and I are closer, and I feel more comfortable talking with them whenever those feelings come up. They are my biggest supporters and even though they aren’t here with me, I can still feel their presence through their encouragement.
Thanks for reading.