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6 ways to deal with homesickness at university
For many, going to university is the first time living away from home. And there is quite often an expectation to embrace this newfound freedom and have the best time of your life.
However, this isn’t always the case and it’s common for students to feel homesick; particularly at the start of the academic year. Whether you’re a UK or an international student or you’re in your first or final year; anybody, at any age can suffer from homesickness.
How do you know if you’re homesick?
University can be an emotional rollercoaster and although you’re likely to experience lots of highs throughout your journey, you may also experience some lows too.
As you settle in and adjust to new routines, you may feel stressed and anxious about being away from the people and places you are familiar with. It’s common to feel overwhelmed or insecure, isolated and lonely and generally feeling low. You may also experience more physical symptoms of homesickness such as being unable to sleep properly, not feeling hungry or suffering from headaches.
Whilst all these symptoms might sound terrible, the good news is, many students only suffer from homesickness for a short period of time. If you’re feeling a little homesick, there are lots of things you can do to help beat the blues.
Dealing with homesickness
Before we delve into some great ways for coping with homesickness, it’s important to recognise that if you are homesick, it’s not a weakness, nor is it something you should feel embarrassed about. So, don’t go beating yourself up about it as you’ll only make yourself feel worse! Instead, follow some of the top tips below.
1. Keep yourself busy
Try to avoid spending too much time on your own, locked away in your room. Getting out and about and socialising might not seem top of your list if you’re feeling low, but we’re confident you’ll feel a million times better if you do.
Whether it’s a walk around the local area, a coffee with friends, a bit of retail therapy, visiting the student’s union and societies or simply attending classes, keeping yourself occupied will take your mind off feeling homesick.
2. Build your social networks
More often than not, most students starting university don’t know anyone. So, if you’re feeling a little lonely and isolated, you’re probably not alone. So, take this opportunity to meet new people; you’ll feel much better having people you can chat with and turn to and I’m sure they’ll be grateful too.
Introduce yourself to your flatmates and other students within your accommodation, connect with students on your course or join a society to meet people with a common interest.
3. Bring home comforts
Sometimes it’s the little things that go a long way in making us feel more comfortable and secure in our new surroundings.
So, whether it’s photos of your family and friends from home, your favourite blanket or cushion, or even your childhood teddy, if you have something that puts a smile on your face, bring it with you.
4. Stay in touch
Whether your loved ones are a million miles away or just up the road, it’s important to keep in touch, especially if you’re feeling homesick.
You’re not expected to leave home and go it alone. So, give them a call, drop them a message or join a video call. Let them know how you’re getting on and find out how they’re doing too. Hearing a familiar voice can help to bring reassurance and put any worries to rest.
5. Plan a trip home
The thought of going the whole semester without seeing your family and friends from home might make you feel anxious and overwhelmed. So, why not break up the semester with a short trip home if you can.
Having a trip planned will give you something to look forward too and make the time away from your loved ones not so long.
6. Ask for help
Starting university is a big leap from what you’ll have been used to at school. You’re expected to become independent in both your learning and living almost overnight. So, it’s understandable that you might be feeling stressed and homesick. If you are feeling like this, and feeling like you can’t cope, it’s important to know that help is available.
Should you have any course or learning concerns, speak with your lecturers as soon as possible. Should you have any problems with your accommodation, speak with the accommodation staff; if you’re living with us at Host, our teams are always on hand to help. Should you need any further support about university life in general, your university will have student support staff, counselling services and welfare departments available for help.
At Host, the wellbeing of our students is our priority. Learn more about how we help to support our students’ wellbeing when living with us. You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the latest tips and news from Host.
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