It’s normal to feel homesick when you start university. Student Lucy tells us how she coped with feelings of homesickness as a new student, and now as a placement student in Italy!
For many students, now and the next few months may be challenging. We’ve just moved away from home and suddenly we have to fend for ourselves. No home comforts, no home cooked meals and no bank of mum and dad to rely on.
When I moved to Reading in first year, the initial few weeks I had an absolute blast. Homesickness? What homesickness? But about a month in it hit me and it hit me hard. The reality that I was at university and away from home flooded through my mind. It was tough and scary, but if you learn how to deal with it, it is easily resolved.
Here are some tips if you are starting to feel homesick:
- Keep busy! If you pack your days with plenty of things to do, you won’t be thinking about how you miss home as much. The worst thing to do is to sit at home and feel sorry for yourself! You could take part in a new society, meet up with friends or learn a new hobby.
- Talk to you friends. You can almost guarantee that they will be feeling the same too.
- Don’t avoid uncomfortable situations. If you feel uncomfortable going to an event to meet new friends, throw yourself in and be brave. These events are important to meet new people and experience university life to the full. You will soon feel more comfortable.
- Explore your new home. Instead of thinking back to all the great things at home, start exploring your new city and think instead about the benefits of being there. One of my favourite things to do is to walk around the lake on campus and around the Harris Gardens. Another thing not to be missed is brunch at Cafè Yolk, which is just a short walk from campus.
- Make your bedroom more homely. Put up pictures that make you smile. This should be a place that you want to go back to at the end of a busy day. A place for you to relax.
- Meet up with your friends back home who are at other universities. This way you’re still exploring university life.
- Regularly exercise. Exercise is not only amazing for you physically, but also mentally. Endorphins released when you exercise make you happy. It is amazing for your mental health and will help you to think positively when you are feeling down.
- FaceTime! If you still feel really homesick, you can FaceTime or Skype your family back at home. However, I wouldn’t recommend doing this too much in your first few months as you could end up missing them more.
I have just moved to Italy for my year abroad, so I am practising all of the above techniques. In the past two weeks I have been out and about exploring my new home, I have made my bedroom somewhere I want to return to and I have met up with a friend from university who is in another city in Italy. I have been busy every day since I got here and have got plans almost every weekend until I come back for Christmas!
Whilst feeling homesick can feel really rubbish, it shouldn’t be something that inhibits you from living your life and it won’t last forever. Soon enough Reading or wherever you may be will become home.