Handling Emotions When You’re Away From Home #AtoZChallenge

Dear Son

Have you ever noticed how we are governed by this one central mechanism that has been fitted into our systems? Our emotions. It’s such a complex mechanism that god has created within us. A system which guides our every action, big and small. The days you are happy you give your best to everyone and the days you are unhappy you simply can’t seem to get anything done right.

Although, you are now old enough to handle basic emotions like happiness and sorrow, when you step out of the cosy confines of your home and land up at a new place you might be engulfed with certain emotions that you might have rarely felt or are new to you. You might initially feel overwhelmed by the new place and the urgency of absorbing everything at once. But go slow. Try and attempt to give attention to one thing at a time which might help you focus better and pick up things faster. In case that seems to be difficult keep a pocket diary handy wherein you could jot down notes of important things that you might need to refer to later. We sometimes feel we would be able to remember things without noting it down, but that’s a quite an unreliable method of absorbing information. Don’t expect to fit in immediately. No matter how hard you try some things will take their own course of time. Give it time. Show healthy curiosity in your surroundings. Go out of your way to meet people around you. Introduce yourself and start a casual conversation. Keep yourself approachable by maintaining an open and pleasant demeanor. In time you will find yourself settling in.

Mixed with the feeling of being overwhelmed will be some amount of homesickness. The thought of not sleeping in the same bed that you slept for years, or eating the same food that your palate is used to, can bring homesickness flooding in. You might long for our comforting presence at times. This is natural and happens to the best of us. Expect this from the start and brace yourself to overcome it in different ways. Skype and WhatsApp could be your best friends in this case. Call up home as and when you get the urge to talk to us. Keep interacting over WhatsApp with your friends who have joined other universities across the globe to know how they are coping. Visit people close to your family who live nearby over the weekend if that is possible. Hopefully in no time you would be able to make deep connections with your roomies and classmates that could probably last a lifetime. Some of these connections turn out to be closer than your family at times.

Once you’ve got accustomed to the new place and as familiarity sets in, you are likely to feel the rush of freedom. The freedom to do things with your own judgement, at your pace, without any boundaries is quite liberating. Soak it in. Savor it. Sleep when you feel like it. Eat what you wish to. Revel in the fact that your mum is not around to nag you to trim your nails or insist that you finish your bowl of ghar ka boring daal. Enjoy your freedom to the hilt for the first few days. But once you’ve settled in, remember that the discipline that your family has instilled in you so far works best for you no matter where you are. They have been tried and tested methods of maintaining self-discipline. Whether it is about eating healthy, sleeping on time or keeping oneself groomed. Once you’ve figure out your routine, plan a schedule and stick to it. Be aware of the fact that in a new place you’ve got to be responsible enough to take care of your own health, so do not go overboard with stretching yourself in the first few days. I also do not need to tell you to not misuse your freedom. I know that you’re smart enough to chalk out your own boundaries.

As you settle in sometimes you might feel lonely despite having people around you. This happens to most people who are on their own in a new city. But be rest assured that this is a passing feeling. You might probably not get too much time to dwell on it in the middle of your studies and other activities. If at all you need to divert your attention, try to look up on something interesting to do. A new place offers lots of local avenues and flavors to explore. See if you could learn a new skill in your free time. And again, we are just a phone call away to help you banish that loneliness.

Most of the emotions that I have stated above are what I myself have gone through when I found myself in a new city with a job away from home. But well, in my case I wasn’t very far from home. I assume your experiences will be far richer than mine since the myriad cultures that you would be exposed to will be quite new to you. How about recording your experiences in a journal regularly and sharing them with us when you’re home for your holidays? I would love to know the details of your new journey. Before I sign off, here’s something I always want you to remember:

‘Never let your emotions overpower your intelligence.’


My theme for this year’s ‘Blogging from A-Z Challenge,’ is a set of 26 open ‘Letters to my Son’ from me that I will be writing throughout April. Read more about my theme here.