Talking Points

homesick on sofa

How to cope with homesickness at university

If you started university this year, the chances are homesickness has kicked in by now. This is common and nothing to worry about, however it can feel rather unpleasant if left to fester, but there are plenty of ways you can be helping yourself through it — take a look at the ideas below for some inspiration. The move from school or college to uni can be a big shock, and you’re often living quite far from home, so it’s only to be expected that you might miss your friends and family at this time. However, the feeling will pass as time goes on, and the ideas in this article will help you through the worst of it.

Don’t give yourself a hard time about it

So, you’re feeling homesick? Most students will do, and it is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of or to feel guilty about. Give yourself a break and embrace the feeling — after all, it will pass, you will see your family and friends from home again soon, and it will be great when you do.

Take home comforts to uni with you

Student with cuddly toy

If you’ve not taken your favourite cuddly toy to university with you, what were you thinking?! We all have items that bring us comfort when we’re not feeling our best, and it’s highly recommended you take these items with you to uni for times like this. Why not take your favourite recipe from home too? There’s nothing like baking your mum’s delicious lasagne, for example, when you’re feeling homesick — share your creation with your housemates too and they’ll absolutely love you for it.

Distract yourself

Freshers hangovers and being far from home can be the perfect combination for creating feelings of homesickness, however, the chances are, once your lectures have started you’ll be kept fairly busy by coursework. This is good for you as it will keep your mind distracted from missing home. Supplement this by working on building up a uni social life and you won’t have time to miss home anymore!

Plan ahead

A great way to make sure you keep busy is to plan ahead. If you don’t know what you’re doing this Friday night yet, why not?! If you’re an introvert, making lots of plans might not come as easily, but find the right clubs and societies and you’ll soon find a bunch of fellow introverts (and extroverts) to spend quality time with. Remember, making plans doesn’t mean you need to go out partying every night — you can build your schedule around your favourite TV show and gym sessions if that’s more you.

Go outside

Uni student outside

It will be tempting to hide away in your room when you’re missing home but isolating yourself is the worst thing you can do. Yes, spend some time alone, and do call home, but you also need to get outside and get to know your new environment and the people within it. If you’re struggling to force yourself to go outside, consider a part-time job to get motivated — not only will it get you out of the house, you’ll be meeting new people and making some money, too.

Spend time with your housemates

If you’re living in halls or a shared house, you have been gifted with the opportunity for an in-built bunch of mates. Don’t be strangers, as that can feel terribly isolating — instead, make sure you schedule in some quality time with your housemates, get to know each other, and you can build a wonderful support network as well as gain lots of new friends.

Manage your expectations

A huge misconception about going to university is that every day is fun. This simply isn’t true! Uni is hard work. Yes, you’ll have lots of fun, but you can’t expect every day to be a party. Don’t compare your uni experience to that of others either — what people portray of their lives on social media is what they choose to share with you, and certainly not the full picture.

Reach out for help

Student making call at night

If you have tried all of the above and you are still struggling, it’s important to ask for help instead of bottling it up. Share your concerns with a friend or housemate, give Leeds Nightline a call anonymously if you prefer (or your specific Nightline if you’re at university elsewhere), or sign up for the university’s counselling service. There’s always someone to listen and understand.

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