Coping with homesickness

Many students coming to university, and maybe leaving home for the first  time, feel homesick. Even those who didn't ever expect to be hit by homesickness  can suddenly find themselves missing the familiarity of home and friends, and  don't know quite how to cope with the resulting emotions. This is entirely  normal and passes, usually in the first term, and often within the first few  weeks.

It is really important to realise that you are not the only one feeling  homesick and that it doesn't in any way mean you are inadequate. Suddenly, you  find that, instead of being a central person in a small unit with plenty of  peripheral activities and friends, you have become an anonymous member of a five  thousand plus community where you know no-one. Understandably you feel shaken  and lonely and you long for the secure and the familiar. Sometimes the emotions  are completely overwhelming.

What can you do to help yourself?

  • Most importantly: acknowledge your feelings and accept them. Believe that  they will pass. They almost always do.
  • Decide whether the best policy for you is to have frequent contact with home  (because contact makes you feel better), or little contact (because contact  makes you feel worse).
  • Think carefully about whether or not to go home at weekends (if this is  possible). Some students find it helps to ease the transition; others find the  constant readjustment makes them feel worse.
  • Make a real effort to join societies/activities and to make at least one or  two friends. This might feel very difficult, but the more you feel part of  campus life, the less homesick you will feel.
  • Familiarise yourself with the Student Guild. Apart from all that it offers  it is an excellent way to meet people in the early days before lectures and  social events are really underway. Take a book and sit in a corner and read if  you are afraid of seeming conspicious.
  • Try to establish a routine as soon as possible. The fuller your days are,  the less time you will have to feel homesick or lonely.
  • Volunteer to help with something - there are plenty of groups looking for  volunteers.
  • Sometimes it helps to share feelings of homesickness. Sharing these feelings  may take you over the worst period.