Missing home? Rachel Adams talks about how to combat homesickness and gives her top tips on how to beat the blues and enjoy university life
Moving to university is a scary experience; for many, it’s the first time that they’ve moved away from home. Homesickness is a natural part of university life, no matter how prepared you might think you are, and it sneaks up on the best of us. There are so many ways of dealing with homesickness, so we’ve made a list of our top tips for beating the blues:
1. Keep in touch with family and friends
This is so important, particularly during the craziness of Freshers’ Week and meeting your new flatmates. Don’t forget that you’re not the only one who’s missing being at home, and your family and friends are likely to be missing you as well. A short phone call every week to catch up on hometown gossip should help to keep your homesickness at bay, and keep your friendships as close to normal as possible. It’s all about keeping a balance between chatting to your old friends, and finding out more about your new friends.
2. Decorate your room
If you’re living in university halls, chances are your room look like a prison cell when you move in; not exactly the most welcoming of environments, especially when you’re missing home. It’s a good idea to start decorating your room as soon as possible – it’s a good way to take your mind off things, and when it’s done it’ll make such a difference to your mood. Check out next week’s issue for our tips on how to decorate your room, but for now we recommend bringing things that are familiar to you, such as pictures of friends or some fairy lights to brighten things up. Posters are also a cheap way of decorating your room as well as a way to really show your personality to your new flatmates.
3. Explore your new home
If you’ve moved away from home to university, odds are you’ll be living in a city that you don’t really know that well. Explore it! For Manchester in particular, there are so many free things to do in the city, from visiting the various museums and art galleries to shopping in the Arndale and the alternative Northern Quarter. One of the worst things you can do if you feel homesick is to lock yourself away in your room; you’ll end up feeling worse, and you’ll miss out on everything that Manchester has to offer! Maybe even take your flatmates along with you to explore; it’s a good way to see the city and make friends at the same time.
4. Get involved in uni life
At the end of the day, you came to uni to socialise (as well as study!) Getting involved in societies is one of the best ways to combat homesickness; they’ll keep you busy with meetings and socials, and you’ll make loads of new friends at the same time. Choose something that you’ve never done before – learn to play a new sport, or pick up a hobby. We can guarantee that it’ll improve your university experience, and it’ll take your mind off what’s stayed at home.
5. Ask for help if you need it
For some, homesickness becomes such a huge part of their lives that they can’t enjoy being at uni, and some even drop out and move back home. Before this happens, make sure to use the support services that are available at university. The Students’ Union offers a free advice service to students who are struggling with being away from home, and can arrange counselling sessions if needs be. Talking to flatmates and other students can also help as well; you are definitely not the only one who is feeling like this. Older students can also help; they all went through the same issues when they first went to university, so they can offer help and advice. The most important thing is to not isolate yourself—spending time with others who are feeling the same will reassure you, and give you a good support network when you need it.
At the end of the day, everyone experiences homesickness in some form. It’s a natural part of university life, and it does get better. The main thing to remember is that everyone around you is probably feeling exactly the same, and that you aren’t alone in feeling this way. Talking to your flatmates or your coursemates is one of the best ways to banish the blues and make sure that you have the best university experience possible.