“I’m a first year student and since moving out for university I’ve been really homesick during my first term."
“I have just arrived back at University after the summer break and I am feeling homesick again. All I want to do is go back home to my parents, my bed and my friends".
“My first few weeks at uni felt so unfocused. I'll be honest, the daytime was mostly very boring before lectures began and the boredom made my homesickness worse".
If the feelings above sound like what you are experiencing at the moment, read on for useful tips to overcome homesickness, whether it’s your first time away from home, or you’ve returned for your second or third year because unfortunately, homesickness can strike at any time!
Exercise and stay healthy
Although you probably don’t feel like it, getting some exercise really helps our mood. A walk, a gym workout, a dance class – whatever you enjoy doing. If you are a frequent gym goer, it is worth considering gym membership at your uni’s sports centre. Carrying on sports that you did at home can feel familiar and maybe ease the pain. Also, remember to get enough food and sleep. Although it may be difficult in the first few weeks, try to establish fairly regular routines for sleep patterns and meal times.
Talk to someone. If you haven't yet made friends here, then try a tutor, chaplain, counsellor, or your GP. Talk to people about how you feel. Sharing your feelings may help you through the worst period. Make an effort to talk to someone new and respond to any invitations you may receive. At the same time, keep in touch with the people you have left behind; visit home and encourage friends and family to visit you- but try to balance this with getting involved at University too, to help it become a familiar and comfortable place.
The best medicine against the blues is company. Homesickness gets worse when you choose to be on your own, stuck in your room, grieving over the loss of familiar people and places. A simple way to make like-minded friends is joining societies and clubs. At the start of the academic year many new people will be joining - you won’t be the only new person. Making an effort to join clubs and societies is a way of keeping busy and feeling more involved in campus life which will help overcome homesickness.
Be positive and self-aware
Try to think positively about yourself, your strengths, and your situation. You’ve done really well to get into university and we all know it’s a difficult place to be at times. Thinking about what strategies and strengths you’ve drawn on in the past to help you through can be a useful activity. Give yourself time to adjust as you don't have to get everything right straight away. Nor do you have to rush into making major decisions about staying or leaving.
If all symptoms persist and prevent you from participating in essential activities, the best idea is seeking professional help from the Student Wellbeing Service at your university. All in all, find what makes you happy here and that should ease the pain of not being home.
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