New students cope with homesickness through a diverse ohana

Written by: 
Pui Sin Cheng

Overcoming homesickness is a common issue for freshman mainland students because it is their first time being away from home for a long period of time, according to several freshman BYU-Hawaii students. However, most of those interviewed said the diverse cultures and peoples have helped them cope with this new experience.

“I tried to remember how much my parents sacrificed so that I could be here,” said Megan Montierth, a marine biology major from Arizona. She said she had a hard time adjusting even though everyone [in Hawaii] is friendly. “I kept telling myself, ‘It’s where I want to be.’” She said even though challenges arise, it’s difficult to be sad while living in Hawaii. 

Malinda Liddle, a Colorado social work major, said she experienced homesickness despite being “an independent person” because it was hard not knowing a single person in a new place. “When I’m down or depressed, it’s hard to not have my dad and friends. I feel like I do not have a social foundation.”

Despite the homesickness, Liddle said she has been feeling better. “Calling home, praying and going to the temple has helped me keep an open mind and be more flexible. I feel like I’m stretched in a way I didn’t expect.”

Even though she feels homesick, Liddle explained she has enjoyed her time at BYUH. “I love the diversity, different perspectives and the culture. I have become more adventurous and desire to go cliff diving, swim with dolphins, surf and go to the underwater cave.”

Montierth said being in Hawaii is like a dream. “I’ve had the experience to swim with dolphins and go skydiving. Being from Arizona where it is not green and like a desert, I love the beach, mountains and sea life.”

Peter Mabey, an accounting major from Oregon, said he loves the diversity in BYUH and having all the options of different people to be friends with. “I love the small classrooms and getting to know the professor more personally,” he said.

A handful of mainland students, such as Julie Costell, an art major from Arizona, did not experience homesickness and were excited to be away from home.

Costell said, “Back home I wasn’t satisfied because I wasn’t progressing, but here I’m progressing.” However, she said even without the homesickness issue, the weather was an unexpected concern. “The humidity and burning hot weather were bad. I would recommend students to get a good fan.”

Mabey said he was the only child left back home. “All of my siblings have moved out so I was ready for a new environment and to meet new people.” He recommended students make a list of things needed for college to help alleviate the stress of the first few weeks.

Mabey said freshman need to expect to meet new people. “Even if you are anti-social, you cannot avoid it.”

Liddle said freshmen should remember what really matters. “If there is something you really want, and it really matters to you, then go for it. Learn what matters to you and what doesn’t.” 

Date Published: 
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Last Edited: 
Tuesday, October 3, 2017