6 September 2023

What To Do If You’re Feeling Homesick During Your First Year

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Moving to a university campus is a huge change. And while it’s an exciting time to figure yourself out and create new memories, it can be nerve-wracking to be away from everything you know and love, especially if it’s your first time away from home.

Homesickness is normal and very common, so if it does get to you, know you are not alone. In fact, according to the National Union of Students, around 50-70% of you feel homesick in the first few months of university with symptoms fading after the third week.

So, what does homesickness look like?

Homesickness can manifest itself in a variety of ways. You might experience some or all of them. Some of the signs include;

  • Low mood
  • Irritability
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Sadness or even anger
  • Headaches and low-energy.

You’ll be glad to know that homesickness doesn’t last forever. But if you are feeling homesick, there are ways you can help ease those feelings.

You 200% deserve to have the best university experience ever. Here are some tips for when you’re feeling homesick.

Video/phone your friends and family

You might want to head straight home, but it’ll be worthwhile to try and stick it out for at least a few weeks.

However, there’s nothing wrong with getting some video or phone call time in with your friends and family. Phoning home is a perfect way to keep that homely connection while you get used to new surroundings and people.

It’s also important to work out how helpful that’ll be for you. For some students, it could make the homesickness worse. But others might find it helps with the transition. 

Plus you’ll save a lot on travel costs, especially if you live far from home.

Bring a few home comforts

Although you won’t be able to bring your favourite Yankee candle, bringing something familiar from home can be a source of comfort for you.

It might be pictures of family and close friends, it could be a childhood teddy or even your fave blanket or bedding.

There’s nothing wrong with making your halls room as you as possible. It’s going to be your living space for the better part of a year, so it’s worth making sure that you’ll be 200% comfortable there.

For more about what you can pack, check out our guide: What to Bring to University. It has a cute downloadable packing list, too.

Throw yourself into the experience

There’s nothing worse than experiencing homesickness and locking yourself away in your halls room for the whole of Freshers’ Week and your first year.

Committing to trying new things, meeting new people, attending all the events and just living in the moment will help ease you into settling quicker than you think.

Joining a society is one of the easier ways to start meeting people and making friends. If you have a particular interest, check out your student services website ahead of time – there’ll be a list filled with all the societies at your university.

During Freshers’ Week, you’ll have the chance to meet them.

Making new friends at uni can be serious fun, find out more about how you can do that. Click below to read more.

Go exploring

Call yourself Dora, you’re going out.

You’re in a new place! Go out and see it. Despite it being grey 99.9% of the time, there are a lot of cool things to see on this island. That includes your uni and the surrounding areas.

Whether that’s having a nosey around the city or town you live in, or an attraction nearby – even if you just take a tour around the campus it’s good to get out and breathe in some actual air.

If you’re near a famous town/city, take a walking or open-bus tour. Near a river? Walk (safely) along its banks.

Long story short, get out of the house (or halls room, you get the point).

Work out a routine

Whether that’s filling up your days with every single activity or just working out a way to do things while at university, a routine will keep homesickness at bay.

You’ll be really busy doing all the things and hopefully having a great time doing them.

Routines do miracles for your mental health as they provide stability. This will be super useful as the university is a huge change that’ll need some getting used to.

Prepping for Freshers’ Week? Here are some tips to ensure you have the week to end all weeks.

Talk to someone

Talk to someone, whether that’s someone you’ve hung out with from a society you’ve joined, or your flatmates. You’d be surprised how much opening up to someone will help.

It could strengthen blossoming friendships and also help create support networks which are a godsend, especially during those first few days and beyond.

It’s easy to think that you’re alone. In reality, you’re not. There are plenty of students who are feeling the same way as you.

If it’s particularly severe, your university will have plenty of services to help you out during Freshers’ Week and beyond.

Everyone experiences homesickness differently and while it might not be a one-size-fits-all, it’s always important to be kind to yourself.

Freshers’ Week is all about fun, getting to know new people and carving out the life you want before adulting officially begins.