When the buzz of freshers week subsides and you have to actually accept the fact that you now have to look after yourself, feelings of homesickness are bound to set in. Wellbeing’s online editor, Leila Mitwally, shares her tips for speeding up the settling in process.
Homesickness happens to the best of us. If you arrived at Bristol last week, at this point in the proceedings it’s almost a given that you’ll miss your parents, your siblings, your dog, your bed, your fully stocked fridge or your branded toilet paper. Or all of the above. Whatever you’re yearning for, hopefully these tips can help stave off the sadness until you next give into temptation and spend a weeks worth of food money on the train back home.
Don’t visit home (seriously)
If you’re reading this whilst feeling homesick this probably isn’t exactly what you wanted to hear, but it’s an important point to get out the way. Popping home to see your family may be all you can think of when you’re feeling out of place in your uni room, but it will only make you feel even worse when you return and reinforce the idea that you’d rather be there than here. Refrain for at least a couple of weeks to really give yourself a chance to settle in. Even when your mum calls and tempts you with a lift home because she pities you. Be strong. They’ll still be there in a few weeks time and if they miss you even more they might buy you a takeaway.
Keeping occupied with activities will take your mind off what you’re missing at home and replace feelings of homesickness with feelings of optimism.
Make an effort to talk to the people around you
This is easier said than done when the space outside your bedroom feels like a communal wilderness which you have neither the social skills nor willpower to navigate, but it really is the only way to speed up the settling in process. Remember that everybody is in the same position – if you’re feeling homesick it’s likely that many of the people you meet in your accommodation or on your course will feel the same way!
University is face timing ur dog when ur homesick
— Maddyy 🦋 (@maddyylalonde) September 28, 2017
Explore Bristol as a city
Make sure that you spend some time getting to know your surroundings on foot, as it will make you feel less out of place and instead more excited for the time that you get to spend here. If you hadn’t noticed so far, Bristol is an insanely beautiful and vibrant city which you will soon grow to love as a second home!
Keep yourself busy
In a similar way to point number two, keeping occupied with activities will take your mind off what you’re missing at home and replace feelings of homesickness with feelings of optimism. Join every and any society that sparks your interest (you can ignore emails from 80% of them later, it’s the thought that counts), and take opportunities to socialise with new friends even if you’re feeling anxious. Push through and I promise you’ll feel better for it.
Stay connected to home through phone calls and keepsakes
Set designated times to call and catch up with your family, so that you don’t feel so removed from their lives and can stay in the loop. Try not to spend hours on the phone home every evening though, as this will probably be counterproductive and leave you missing them even more! Also, using keepsakes that remind you of home and putting up photos of your loved ones will help you feel closer to them even if not physically, and generally making your room as cosy as humanely possible will make you feel more comfortable.
Feeling homesick is a natural part of the freshers experience which will subside only with time – you certainly aren’t the only one that feels out of place.
Try to embrace the positives of moving away from home
Though it might be difficult at the moment, think about all the freedom you now have that you didn’t when you lived at home – including but not limited to: going out whenever you want, napping whenever you see fit, allowing your clothes floor to really flourish and having nobody to stop you eating cereal for dinner when you can’t be bothered to cook (except your good old friend malnutrition). Making boring chores like washing and shopping a social activity by taking your flatmates or friends along is also a good icebreaker.
Finally, please don’t worry about feeling this way! It’s easy to assume that student life is going to be amazing from the get-go, but this usually isn’t the case. Most people who tell you that are either lying to your face or lying to themselves. Any new start is going to feel strange, let alone one which sees you moving out of your family home for the first time and having to become an almost-adult in the time it takes for your parents to drive down the road from your accommodation and disappear from view. Feeling homesick is a natural part of the freshers experience which will subside only with time – you certainly aren’t the only one who feels out of place. Try as hard as you can to get out and talk to people, and you’ll have a university family to gloat about to your actual family in no time.
What have you found helpful for dealing with homesickness in your first week at Bristol? Comment below or get in touch!