Student | Sophie King
Many of us are familiar with the gut-wrenching feeling of missing home. The anticipation of starting university is over, the smoke clears, and you begin to realise just how daunting being away from home is. Suddenly, having fun is off the cards and you’re wondering why you signed up for university in the first place. But there is hope – take it from a veteran of homesickness.
We feel homesick because the new environment in which we find ourselves is unfamiliar, and therefore uncomfortable to be in. It holds unknown possibilities, and we as humans essentially kick into fight or flight mode. It’s a natural and completely normal reaction to stepping outside of our comfort zones and into the outside world, and so many of us have been or are going through it.
It’s important to kick into ‘self-care mode’ when we find ourselves sad and missing our friends, family and pets. It’s natural to feel the need to get out and go home, but we should try to retrain ourselves to feel at home in our new space. Spending a little of your loan on reed diffusers with calming fragrances or other scented products from home goes a long way in adding familiarity and comfort to your room. I also found that cosy lighting is effective in setting a relaxed atmosphere in your space; investing in some (battery-operated) fairy lights, or even just a cosy lamp adds comfort to cold and nerve-wracked evenings.
It can also be helpful to spend as much time around people as possible. Making friends can seem daunting, but it’s made a lot easier by taking part in different societies and activities around campus. Great friends can be found next-door, on your course, or in the most unexpected places and can really help you through your university experience. They’re probably even feeling the same way as you!
As the common saying goes, time is the best healer; although waiting it out seems scary, you’ll eventually (at your own pace) find yourself stepping out of the blues. But never forget that there are counselling services on campus that are designed for a range of emotional issues, including homesickness. It can be really helpful to talk about your worries and upsets with a member of professional staff who is familiar with students missing home.
After registering with the counselling service in Founder’s West 171 (in the Victorian corridor leading to the Picture Gallery), you can book an appointment in-person or over the phone on 01784 443128. A chat with some guidance can go a long way, and you can go back as many times as you like.
Remember that homesickness is only a temporary feeling – I’ve been through it and I’m now loving university, and I have the upmost faith that you can, too. I wish you the very best in adjusting to university life and having a great year – you can do it!