“Star light. Star bright. The first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.”

These are the words I murmured at 4 in the morning, on a deserted street, with two of my friends beside me. My eyes were shut so tight as I made my wish that the insides of my eyelids began exploding with stars reminiscent of the ones I’d just been gazing at.

Blame it on the sleep deprivation. Blame it on the stress of university. I don’t know. But when one of my friends suggested we lay down and reenact the scene from “The Notebook”, I thought it was the most ingenious idea ever, consequences be damned.

So there we were. Three girls just lying in silence, contemplating the galaxy above us. Reflecting back on this moment, I can only remember mulling over one thing; that the stars shine in the same manner as they do back in New Jersey.

This is the night my homesickness began.

Us lying on the ground!

It only got worse as the following days passed. The fact that my birthday was coming up in two weeks didn’t help. I couldn’t fathom the thought that this would be my first birthday celebration without my family.

A series of events got me through this low point though.

  • Organizing My Safe Haven
    • Whenever I feel sad, I tend to isolate myself in my room until the feeling subsides. While this seems like the best course of action, because I’m not involuntarily forcing my unhappiness on others, it also means that I get bored quickly because there’s not much to do.The solution? Cleaning.This was perfect for two reasons. One, it kept my mind preoccupied so I spent less time wallowing. Two, I found pieces of home I’d forgotten I had, like pictures and stuffed animals from my room back in New Jersey. Having these items reminded me that even though I’m away, it’s not for forever. There’ll come a time where I will have to return these objects to their rightful places. Somehow, this reminder helped me feel slightly better.

  • Talking to People
    • As much as I’d have liked to, I couldn’t spend forever in my bedroom. Eventually, I did have to leave to eat, shower, and prove to people that I was still alive. During those moments, I found solace venting to my friends about how I was homesick. And I listened intently when they shared the same sentiment. It was comforting to know that I wasn’t alone.Along with talking to my friends, I found my RA to be extremely accommodating. In the second week of April, she held individual meetings with each of the residents under her care to see how everyone was adjusting to University life. While opening up to my friends was nice, talking to an unbiased third party was even better. I appreciated how intently my RA listened to me ramble and the advice she offered. She also mentioned that the University has counseling if I ever need to talk to someone on a regular basis. While I don’t think I’ll need that anytime soon, I’m grateful that it’s there for me, just in case.Contact Information for University Health and Counseling Service: https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/on-campus/student-support/personal-support/student-health-counselling/contact-university-health-counselling-service.html
  • Make Plans
    • This ties in with the “keeping your mind preoccupied” from the first bullet. I began planning my trip to Australia for mid-semester break! Having something to look forward to didn’t leave me time to wallow over being homesick. It also helped that I have relatives in Australia; I was excited to go to an environment full of familiar faces.The main reason I wanted to come to New Zealand was because of the independence and opportunities this move gave me. The thrill that came from knowing that I’d be in Australia in a week reminded me why I chose to leave home in the first place. The regret I’d begun to feel over my decision to move quickly dissipated when I remembered my reasons for doing so.
  • Bring Home to You 
    • All credit for this bullet goes to my lovely friends.As I mentioned before, my birthday was fast approaching. While I was excited to be turning nineteen, an air of melancholy still surrounded me preceding the day.You see, my family has a few traditions that are carried out every year on my birthday. I’d assumed that, because I’d be celebrating without them this year, the traditions would not be taking place.
      I was wrong.Remember how I said I’d vented to my friends about my homesickness? Part of that heart-to-heart session involved me mentioning the things I’d miss doing on my birthday.My friends made sure I did every single one.

      My family and I always stay up the night before my birthday to cut a cake. My friends surprised me with a cheesecake (my favorite dessert) at midnight and we ended up having a sleepover where they made sure I wasn’t alone for a second.

      Every year, I wear a dress on my birthday. I was hesitant to dress up this time around because, as far as I knew, I had no plans to really go out. My friends made sure I had the perfect outfit and even wore dresses alongside me so I wasn’t the odd one out.

      For the past seven years, I have had Mexican food for dinner on my birthday without fail. My friends surprised me with dinner reservations for The Mexican Cafe (Side note: Food was amazing. 10/10. Highly recommend. Would eat there again).

      My favorite surprise though? When Kristen and Rhea (the two ladies from the late night/early morning rendezvous mentioned at the beginning of this post) took me by the hands a little after midnight and led me from the common room to my dorm room.

      They’d covered my entire ceiling with glow-in-the-dark stars.

      And fourteen hours later, it was underneath these stars that I sat as I wished my twin sister a Happy Birthday on Skype while the clock struck midnight in America.


“If I lay here. If I just lay here. Would you lie with me, and just forget the world?” – Snow Patrol, Chasing Cars