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Coping with homesickness

Published Wednesday, 01 October, 2014 by Beth Bradshaw

Now the excitement and the bubble of Fresher’s Week has finally burst for most of us, and the 9am lectures commence along with the a severe case of fresher’s flu that just will not budge – some freshers may start to feel slightly deflated, sad and longing for home.

I suffered quite badly from homesickness in my first semester, and even had a few moments when I questioned my choice in coming to university. However, I stuck it out, and that was the best decision I’ve ever made. So here are a few ways I got through homesickness that will hopefully give some reassurance to those of you who are missing home.

  • To start with, make sure you bring some home comforts to decorate your room with, and make it feel more, well, homely! You really need to feel comfortable and happy where you are living, otherwise you will really find it difficult to settle in. Pictures, posters, decorations, fairy lights etc. Basically anything that makes your room your own.

  • Embrace your new home: if you’re going to be living there for three or more years, you best make the most of it and get to know your new home! Explore the city/town itself, have a look around museums, local monuments and markets. That way, it will start to feel less alien and more familiar.

  • Keep yourself busy! I always found myself feeling more homesick when I was on my own, so keep yourself busy with societies, friends, clubs and activities – anything that will take your mind off home.

  • Get stuck into uni: Don’t listen to all those freshers skipping lectures with the excuse “first year doesn’t count”… in essence they are just wasting £9000. First year is there for a reason, so kick start your degree and give it 100% effort! I would always feel much better once I’d finished a piece of work, and it also keeps your mind occupied for a good couple of hours.

  • Keep on top of your funds: getting into a financial pickle is easier than you think, and is so common in students in particular. It can really get you down; you’ll get sick of living off beans, rice and pasta and long for your mother’s home cooked dinners. Financial problems can often lead to a spiral of decline and students often drop out as they can’t enjoy themselves – so try to avoid it at all costs. Read my blog from last year for tips on how to eat well on a student budget.

  • Schedule trips home to start with once a month (if you are close enough) and see how you go. Obviously if you are coping well with living away from home then maybe less frequent, but I found once a month kept me going. It gives you something to look forward to, count down the weeks, days and book your tickets in advance to get the cheapest deals. A trip home would always leave me feeling better and ready to get through the next couple of weeks – or get your parents to come up in between trips to come spend the weekend in the city, you can show them round!

  • Keep in touch with life back home so you don’t feel left out or alienated! Skype was my saviour last year!

  • Give it your best shot! If you really tried, then there’s no shame in quitting. Homesickness can really make a big impact on your enjoyment of university life, so try to fight it for as long as you can. However if you are really struggling, maybe you aren’t ready or university isn’t for you, but make sure you have no regrets if you gave it your all.

  • There’s no shame in being homesick. It’s totally natural and many students experience it, even if they don’t show it. If anything, being homesick made me realise how much I loved home and that I should appreciate my parents’ company more as I felt lost without them for a long time. Take it from me, it will get easier. I spent the whole first semester looking forward to going home, but by the time the second semester came to an end, I was having so much fun I didn’t want to come home. My dad dragged me home kicking and screaming!

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