Home, sweet home

As the temperature continues to drop and flu season begins to settle in, precautionary actions against the H1N1 virus become ever more prevalent in the minds of the general public.

But as November rolls slowly to an end, I’m becoming more and more weary of another kind of virus: homesickness, an affliction I am prone to catching around this time of year (and I doubt that I’m alone on this one).

While the pile of schoolwork keeps getting bigger with papers, exams, presentations and final projects, home becomes that much more appealing.

I find myself beginning to show early symptoms of the homesickness bug: class attendance is at a new low, procrastination is at an all-time high and my attention span is ...well, what attention span?

With the pressure of school at its peak and the holidays drawing nearer, all I can think about is how great it would be to be at home, equipped with a television (with cable!), a dishwasher and an always fully-stocked fridge.

I know there’s only a week of school left, but there’s so much work that I need to accomplish beforehand that home seems a lifetime away.

Homesickness may not seem comparable to the spread of the swine flu, but if you’ve ever been down this path before, then you know how much of a menace homesickness can be.

It starts with a feeling of nostalgia, probably provoked by the spirit of the holidays, then proceeds to a general lack of focus and concentration.

Memories of days spent at home before you started university only increase the awareness that you aren’t at home any longer, but away at school.

This is followed by a sudden consciousness of how much time has passed since those days spent at home, followed by the terrifying realization that you’re older than you thought and it’s probably time to start thinking seriously about what you’re going to do with your life.

Homesickness, at its worst, has the potential to develop into existential angst if you let it gain momentum.

So how does one build immunity to such a virus?

Unfortunately, homesickness can’t be averted by a bottle of Purell, but distraction is the best medicine.

Staying busy helps to keep my mind from wandering back home. Going out, working out and hanging out seem to produce the quickest cures to tide me over until classes are done and I finally get to go home for the holidays.

The countdown to the holiday break has already started, and I think I’m holding on pretty well so far.

I think homesickness is just a result of the wear and tear of the essay writing, due dates and final exams that pile up around this time of year.

It never really lasts very long—after a few days spent at home, I’m already restless and ready to get back to school again.

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