A Student's Guide to Combating Homesickness
Moving away to university is a huge life event. For many of us, it’s the first proper step in our journey to adulthood. University is where we get to enjoy our independence, learn to become self-reliant, and all of that other grown-up stuff.
As glorious as student life becomes, it can be quite a shock to the system initially – even if you’re fairly independent to begin with (or you thought you were)!
Feeling homesick during your first few weeks and months at university is perfectly natural, because you’re in the middle of a complete lifestyle change. There are so many different causes of homesickness that a cure is hard to prescribe, but by following a few of the tips we’ve shared below, you might find that you start to adjust more quickly than you expected.
So, here’s our general advice:
CALL HOME REGULARLY
Believe it or not, you don’t have to sever all communications with your parents and loved ones once you move away to university.
If you find yourself missing your family, pick the phone up and call them – it’s pretty simple! The sounds of their voices will comfort you, and they’ll no doubt be ecstatic to hear from you and want to know how you’re getting on.
Don’t feel as though you have to keep radio silence to show how big and grown-up you are.
KEEP YOURSELF BUSY
The first few weeks at university tend to be relaxed (from an academic perspective). There’s a lot of info to take in, but you’ll probably have quite a bit of free time – and this is where homesickness can sometimes take hold.
Whatever you do, try not to hole yourself up in your room during your spare time as it’s easy to feel lonely, and wind up thinking about what or who you miss from home. Instead, get out and explore the city on foot. Get familiar with it, because you’ll need to! Or ask one (or several) of your new flatmates if they fancy going for a drink, or seeing a film at the cinema, or doing something else that’s fun.
If you do feel like staying in your room and chilling out, (because the first few days and weeks can be surprisingly exhausting) try reading a book for pleasure, or maybe watch something on Netflix – anything that stops you from dwelling on the fact that you’re away from home!
DO STUFF YOU ENJOY
Your studies and work are certainly very important, and making a strong academic start is definitely advisable, but you also need to indulge in some you-time. If you don’t, you could end up feeling stressed, and then before you know it, homesickness will have reared its ugly head.
Even if it’s just twenty minutes here or an hour there, regular pleasure-seeking will work wonders. Read, bake, jog, knit – whatever!
Joining a sports team or society could be another way to make the most of your free time, because it’ll introduce you to a bunch of people who share at least one of your big interests.
DON’T OVERDO THE PARTYING
Few things can put a person down in the dumps like a stinking hangover can. Waking up with a pounding headache and the world’s driest mouth is grim at the best of times, but especially so when it’s not in your childhood home.
This is not to say that you shouldn’t go out and enjoy a booze with your new housemates – of course you should. Just don’t overdo it.
If you haven’t had much experience with alcohol before, take it easy. You need to suss out which sorts of drinks agree with you and which don’t, because it’s crazy how different drinks affect different people. But – and this is very important – don’t do all this sampling in the same night! Stick to the one type of drink per night wherever possible, because a mixture of lager, cider, and spirits is enough to put any inexperienced drinker in a terrible place.
GO HOME FOR THE WEEKEND
Many first-year students wait until Christmas before they visit home, but there’s no saying that you have to wait till then. A weekend back at home after five or six weeks could do you good if you’re feeling homesick – it’ll remind you that home actually isn’t a million miles away, like it might have seemed for the first few weeks.
UNINEST: HELPING YOU ENJOY STUDENT LIFE
Providing safe and comfy accommodation has taught us a thing or two about student life, so we feel it’s our duty to share tips and advice that’ll make your student journey a smoother and more enjoyable one. Keep an eye on our blog for more articles like this!