As the novelty of Freshers’ Week becomes a distant memory, the Freshers’ bluesÂ can be quick to sink in.
The pressure of starting a new chapter in your life in unfamiliar surroundings can be overwhelming, and so inevitably the feeling of homesickness is rife among new students who are embarking on their brand new university careers.
It’s a huge transition for anyone, whether you’ve come from the other side of the world or from the next city over. There’s simply no denying that being away from your friends and family (and your pets, obviously) for an extended period of time can be incredibly tough.
SufferingÂ with feelings of homesickness is nothing to be embarrassed about. Every student will go through it at one point or another – but the most important thing you can do is not allow it to stop you from enjoying this exciting new chapter in your life.
So if you’re spending too much time feeling low and pining for home, follow our top pieces of advice to keep your homesickness under control.
1. RememberÂ – everyone is in the same boat.
Take comfort in knowing that many people at university will be in exactly the same boat. With it likely being your first time away from home for an extended period of time, feelings of homesickness are only natural – especially in an intense environment such as university. So don’t be afraid to be honest and open up to your new friends or flatmates about how you’re feeling. Remember: a problem shared is a problem halved.
2. Don’t isolate yourself.
The worst thing you can do when you’re missing home is isolate yourself.Â Sure, when you’re feeling low, nothing sounds quite as appealing as locking yourself in your room and scoffing Nutella out of the jar with a spoon. Though at the end of the day, this will only exaggerate how you’re feeling and will bring you down much further. You’ll be missing out on fun activities with your flatmates/coursemates, and you’ll start to feel more alone than ever before.
Your room can be your safe haven when you’re in need of some alone time every now and again, but be sure not to spend too much time there. Get out and embrace student life – whether that involves going out with your flatmates, taking part in societies/clubs or bagging yourself a part-time job alongside your studies.
3. Bring a few home comforts.
Whether you’re moving to university halfway across the globe,Â or whether you’re just half an hour down the road – it’s always a good idea to bring a few home comforts with you. Whether it’s photographs of friends and family, your teddy bear, your favouite food items or other sentimental trinkets – make sure to bring at least one or two of these things with you. Having some reminders of home can make your living space much more inviting, and will always make you feel comforted when you’re feeling particularly low.
4. Stay in touch with friends and family.
In today’s digital age, we’re so lucky to be able to simply pick up a device to see and speak with our loved ones in real-time. If you’re missing your loved ones, remember that they are only a Skype call away. Staying in touch with friends and family back home can often be an instant pick-me-up.
Though try not to call home too often. Getting too caught up with things that are happening at home can make you feel worse about missing out. Stay in touch and have catch-ups every now and again, but be sure to make the effort to get out and meet new people.
5. Book a trip home (but not too early).
Embracing the first few weeks of university with open arms is vital for settling in to student life. That being said, they’re also likely to be some of the most intense weeks of your life. It can be all too tempting to run home at the first hurdle, but be sure to see it through. Then, once you find yourself feeling more comfortable in your new surroundings, book a trip home to visit your loved ones. After giving yourself some time to get used to everything, it will give you something to look forward to.
Booking a trip home too early means you run the risk ofÂ not wanting to return to universityÂ without giving it a real chance.
6. Fill your social calendar.
Keeping busy is the best method of distraction. Freshers’ Week provides the perfect opportunity to dive head-first into student life and participate in a variation of fun things every single day – but it doesn’t have to stop there.
Once the dust of Freshers’ Week begins to settle, try to get yourself into a routine so that you don’t have time to dwell on how you’re feeling. Make the effort to get up and attend your lectures, try joining the university gym, join a society or club, and plan activities with your new university friends. With such a busy schedule, you won’t even have time to think about how much you’re missing home.
7. Familiarise yourself with your new surroundings.
Part of the reason why homesickness can be so overwhelming is because you’re submersed into unfamiliar surroundings and haven’t yet had the time to adjust and feel comfortable. So why not set aside some time to go exploring? Familiarise yourself with your campus and get to know everything that is available to you. Once you start to feelÂ familiar with places and faces, it’ll begin to feel like your second home.
8. SeekÂ support.
If your emotions are becomingÂ so overwhelming that they are hindering you from settling into university life -Â remember that there is always help out there. If you are struggling with your mental health, there are many ways in which you can seek out support. Don’t hesitate to talk to other students, flatmates and coursemates, because as mentioned before, they’re likely to have felt the same way at some point or another.
Furthermore, don’t be too quick to dismiss making use of your university’s student support services. Institutions are experienced in offering students necessary help to settle into their new way of life – whether that be through counselling services, student mentoring programs or suggested activities for you to get involved in.
Never be afraid to ask for help if you feel it necessary – you have nothing to be ashamed of or feel embarrassed about. Taking care of your mental health at university is so important. You are not alone.
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