Well, it’s that time of year again. Despite this crazy 80-90 degree weather we’ve been having, the first LA mist of the school year struck yesterday. I call it mist because there’s no way you can consider it rain – just a little bit of moisture in the air early in the morning on the way to my first class of the day. It burned off before I even got out of that class. But still, the second I felt it, I got my first wave of homesickness since I arrived back on campus. Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love USC. I love going to school in LA. I love my friends here, my schedule, and I most definitely love the sunny weather. But after spending the first 18 years of my life growing up in one of the rainiest, gloomiest parts of the country, even just a hint of overcast skies and mist makes me miss home. I think it’s inevitable – part of leaving the place you grew up is missing it sometimes. It’s not that I wish I was going to school in Oregon – I really am happy here, but sometimes I do wish I could be both places at once. After talking to several of my other friends from outside California I’ve decided that it’s pretty normal, and totally curable. So while missing home can sometimes be a bummer, I’ve spent that last year figuring out some pretty great ways to deal with homesickness! Here’s how I deal:

1. Bringing home to USC.

This one leaves a lot of room for creativity. I’ve done all kinds of stuff ranging from creating a large photo collage for my apartment wall, to cooking some of my favorite meals, to growing a tree. That’s right, a tree. In case you haven’t been to Oregon, let me give you a quick summary of the landscape – lots and lots and lots of evergreens. Los Angeles, despite its many wonderful qualities, has a sad lack of evergreens. Palm trees, sure. Even some deciduous trees. But evergreens? Not so much. After spending my freshmen year without much in the way of greenery, I decide to purchase a “tree in a box” from the Made in Oregon store. I’m pretty sure it’s the best $5 I’ve spent in a long time. Starting with just a few seeds and a little tiny pot, my baby Douglas Fir tree (state tree of Oregon in case you were wondering) has now sprouted and begun to grow! I attached a picture below so you can see.

2. Finding USC people from my area.

Despite the fact that I went to a pretty big high school, I’m the only person in my graduating class attending USC. Actually, someone told me (could be a rumor, so don’t trust me on this) that there are only 20-30 people or so people from all of Oregon in my class here at USC. I absolutely love befriending fellow Oregonian Trojans though – it’s really cool to have something so significant in common. We’ve grown up driving the same roads, eating at the same restaurants, rooting for the same sports teams, and commiserating over the same weather. The point is – whenever I get nostalgic, it’s nice to have other people to reminisce with who’ve shared similar childhood experiences. Especially since the Los Angeles metro area has roughly four times the population of my entire state.

3. Staying in contact with my friends and family from home. Even better: having them come visit!

I had some really great friends in high school, and leaving them was really tough for me. The good news is that  it’s so easy to keep in touch. A quick text or phone call, Skype session, or even a Snapchat from a high school friend always brightens my day. Some of my friends and I even write letters – who doesn’t love getting mail, right? The same goes for family. Also, while electronic communication can be a lifesaver, seeing friends and family in person is even better. I’ve gotten the opportunity to have a few friends come visit me at USC, and it’s awesome to be able  to share my experiences with them.

4. Going home whenever I can.

This one’s pretty obvious, but I had to mention it! Especially because I just booked my plane tickets home to watch the USC vs. Oregon State football game the first weekend of November! I’m so excited – probably about half of my high school friends go to OSU so it will be really fun to see our football team destroy theirs – hopefully. Anyways, I love having plane tickets booked really early in advance because then I always have something to look forward to.

So after that mist struck yesterday, and my homesickness hit, I went back to my apartment and watered my baby tree. I called my mom and texted some of my high school friends. I ate some comfort food, I looked at some pictures, and I booked my plane tickets. And in almost no time the homesickness passed. I hung out with my wonderful roommates, went outside and caught some LA sunshine, and remembered all the reasons I love this school, and realized for the millionth time that even though I miss home sometimes, it’s okay because going to school here is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

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Industrial & Systems Engineering, Class of 2016, Learn more on her profile here!