By Ruth Hoey | Advice Editor
Handling homesickness is something that many students have to face throughout their time at university. It is a lot more common than you may think and it doesn’t only affect university students. Research found by the BBC suggests that, “up to 70% experience it at some point” in their lives.
These first few months of the university term can be the hardest, as you settle into a very different way of life away from home. No matter how far you have travelled to get to university, one thing is true, it isn’t at all like home. From having to cook for yourself to living with people you’ve just met; the reality is that everything is different.
This can be great thing for some! Many students thrive in this new environment that affords new experiences and freedoms. Moving to University is a huge step in becoming independent and moving towards adulthood. Some students however, require a little bit more time to get into the swing of things. Regardless of which category you may fall into, moments of missing home happen to us all.
I can assure you, however, that as you spend more time at university, getting used to your surroundings and your new normal, you will pine less for the comforts of home and embrace this exciting new lifestyle.
Here are some tips and advice for handling homesickness:
Firstly, remember that you won’t make deep friendships straight away or with the first people that you meet. These months away from home can remind us of how important it is to have friendship connections. However, these strong connections are not built in a day. They are built through time spent together and shared experiences. It is only October. There is still plenty of time to meet new people and develop strong connections with people at university.
FaceTime and Calls
In the meantime, make good use of FaceTime and calls.Your family and friends back home are probably missing you as much as you are missing them. Remember that you are not leaving these relationships behind- they still very much exist. You just have this opportunity to meet new people and start new relationships. With the technology of today we are never more than a phone call away from family and friends back home. Keep in contact and let them know how you are getting on. It can be as often or as little as you would like. (However, remember that it’s important to give yourself time to go and live your life, making new friends and socialising).
Getting out of your room and exploring your new home is a great way to combat homesickness. You may miss the comforts of your hometown, but at Uni you have an amazing opportunity to get to know a brand-new city and call it home to. As we’re a few months into term you’ve probably learnt how to find your Uni buildings and, the all-important Lidl. Consider taking some time to explore the city, be a tourist for a day and visit the landmarks. Maybe go on a trip to a museum and learn about the history of the city. There are so many things for you to discover, all within walking distance!
Join Clubs and societies
Joining clubs and societies is the best way to meet new people and spend time doing the things you enjoy. It’s never too late to join a society. Societies are always looking for new, enthusiastic members. Finding people who share your passions is a great way to keep homesickness at bay as it is a means to instantly connect with people over a common interest. Joining a few societies is also a good way to keep yourself busy as often the pangs of homesickness hit when you are spending too much time by yourself in your bedroom.
Overall, it’s important to be honest with yourself. It’s okay to feel homesick. It’s a completely natural and very common response to such a major life change as moving to Uni. Being self-aware, recognising when you are feeling homesick and handling your homesickness accordingly is the best thing you can do. Soon this homesickness will fade into a distant memory. As you make stronger connections and get used to the city it will begin to feel more and more like a new home. For now, don’t panic, just get stuck into all that University life has to offer.