As you know I moved to university last week, I've had so much fun with my freshers experience but I did struggle with homesickness during the first few days. Since this is my first real taste of independence, and since I am close with my family, I found that not living at home was difficult for me.
I knew that I wasn't the only person feeling like this, but since the rest of my flatmates and friends from back home seemed to be having so much fun, I felt like I was on my own... I wasn't. I've spoken to a lot of people who have openly admitted to missing home, and that's understandable. Being away from home for the first time is scary and daunting, not everyone is going to take to it like a duck to water. Over the course of the week I've developed some small ways I could minimise my homesickness, and I thought I would share them here so that others may be able to apply them if you're feeling homesick:
- Skype: The day before I left for university I showed my parents how to use Skype so that I could video-chat with them one I was here. Since you can see who you're talking to, it feels as though you are back home, and not miles away in your uni room. I'd definitely recommend setting up an account so that you can keep in contact with home, even if that means Skyping once a week or everyday, whatever works best for you.
- Put up pictures of home: I printed off 50 or so photos for my uni room so that I would have fond memories to look back on once I was here, and also so that my walls didn't look so bare. Even though my uni accommodation is really good, the plain white walls made me feel as though I was in prison the first few days instead of at uni. Also, there should be poster sales around campus and, if not, I would definitely recommend buying something to go on your walls; maybe a poster of your favourite film/tv show/ band so that your room feels more homely, which will minimise the feelings of homesickness.
- Talk to your roommates!: This one I can't stress enough, it's alright you skyping home and staring longingly at pictures of you and your dog, but none of that will work if you don't talk to your flatmates. They are probably feeling the same as you right now, and talking to someone will help you to take your mind off missing home. Locking yourself up in your room will only make you feel worse, and it will cause awkwardness later on when you don't really know your flatmates. Get to know them and you'll realise you're not the only one missing home...
- Go out: This one seems plainly obvious, but getting yourself ready for and attending freshers events will allow you to have fun by taking your mind off home. Even if you only go out a handful of times during the week, for those few hours you aren't thinking of home and starting your university experience off with a bang!
- Buy a room spray: At home I used a room spray that smelt of lavender. I found this really calming and used to spray it on my bed at night to help me sleep. Since coming to university I've sprayed it all over my room to help me associate my new room with my old one. Also, it helps if you have guests coming over as your room will always smell nice and inviting.
- Deal with your emotions head on: Now, I'm no doctor but I know that trying to push aside these feelings of homesickness will only make them re-appear stronger. I did this for the first few days of uni, telling myself that it was silly to miss home and that I should be out and enjoying myself as much as possible - by Tuesday, my homesickness hit me with a force and I was forced to deal with it instead of pushing it aside. You might feel a bit silly having a little cry in your room, but I can assure you that you'll feel a lot better than trying to make yourself happy. But if you feel like you're struggling, there is always help on campus to make you feel better, don't feel as though you're on your own.
By doing these steps, I've managed to jump into uni life. As I said before, I'm no doctor so please don't be angry if my tips don't work for you, these are just things that work for me which I thought I would share. Moving to university is a big thing and everybody deals with this change in different ways but one thing to keep in mind is that you worked so hard to be where you are right now so try to offset these feelings of homesickness with the fact that you earned your place at your university. As much as you might want to give in during the first few days/weeks just remember how much you are looking forward to your course and how good it will be for your future plans.