Written By: Kayla Gill

Attending the GCSW has been a great experience. Our diverse student population is made up of students from across the world. Many of those students like myself have come across the country to settle into Houston. I am originally from Lexington, KY where I lived my entire life prior to coming to Houston. There was this build up of excitement about coming to a new city and exploring all it had to often.  With the help of my mother and sister I drove 17 hours across the country to settle into this new life.

Twenty four hours after my arrival my mother and sister left to catch their plane and I was off to set up my apartment. I think after about two days of being there I started to feel very lonely and almost empty. I was no longer excited about being Houston or attending the GCSW and had many thoughts of returning home. At times I thought maybe I’m just nervous, this new place, new people and I just have not found my way yet. These thoughts would either turn into short spurts of happiness or tears, I was trying to convince myself that everything would be okay. During all this is when I finally realized that it may not be fear or sadness, I was homesick. I called my mom at least twice in the first week to tell her that I was coming home and each time she told me to give it some time, so I did.

I wish I could tell you that after a couple days I was fine and I started having the time of my life but that is simply not true. The recipe that helped my homesickness started at the GCSW with my cohort. I became acquainted with people and over time formed friendships. These are people I studied with, went out to eat with and called in times of need.  These genuine relationships became the closest thing that I had to family.

Throughout my time here I have also gained extended cohort family through classes and organizations that I joined. During my short time I joined the Macro Network, which is a small organization of macro students here the GCSW. The meetings are just monthly, but provide a chance to meet new faces and learn about different experiences going on in the Houston area. This small group helped me navigate my concentration and granted experiences that kept me focused on my education.

Aside from the GCSW I decided to get a small part time job to occupy time and of course earn side money. I started working in the Galleria area every weekend in retail. This was not my favorite job by far but what it did allow me to do was assimilate into the Houston culture. The mall is also the perfect place to see just how diverse Houston is. It was amazing to see various cultures represented and interact with people from all over the world.

Being a person of faith, finding a worship place that fit me was very important. I was able to find a great church home where I met new faces who soon became friends. Gaining them was a great way to not only make friends but a sense family inside of the community. Having them in my life brings a sense of peace that is much needed when away from family.

My homesick recipe is simple, get well acquainted with your cohort, get involved in some of the many organizations that the GCSW has to offer, use your own special interests to venture out in Houston and make sure to have fun while doing it.  This is the recipe that worked for me and it has proven to be efficient because I am entering my last semester here at the GCSW.  My hope with this blog is that it will help some student, who like me, traveled across the country and needs help to get through. YOU CAN DO IT!

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