Moving to university can be intimidating - especially during these uncertain times. After years of being at home, starting a new life in a new city is a huge move. Although students usually settle and make amazing new friends, many struggle with one thing: homesickness. Missing home whilst dealing with a new way of living and working can be overwhelming - but there is always support available. Here are HYBR’s top tips for dealing with feelings of homesickness whilst studying at University.
Pack some home comforts
When packing for university, alongside the essentials, it’s always good to bring some possessions that remind you of home. Maybe a childhood teddybear, photos of your friends and family, or decorations from your bedroom.Making your new room as homely as possible will ease the transition into student life. Fairy lights, candles and any hobby-based items (instruments, game consoles, art supplies) will also help you feel more at home in your new space. If you’re seeking inspiration for your room decor, try Etsy or Pinterest!
Although it can be tempting to stay inside your room or flat, exploring what your university campus and the local city have to offer early on is a great way to prevent homesickness. Explore popular tourist hot spots, shops and cafes (where allowed). Invite members of your household along for walks or even just for grocery shopping. Exercising and spending time outdoors can also be beneficial (both for your physical and mental health). Keeping up to date with your lectures and coursework will also help you have a more peaceful transition into university life.
Keep in contact with loved ones
Remember, your friends and family are always at the other end of the phone. Text and call whenever you need to hear a family voice (though not too often). Organise video-calls with your friends from back home - host virtual quizzes or catch-ups. That being said, try not to neglect your new friends and flatmates by spending too much time in your room or visiting home. Take every opportunity you can to settle into your new student life, whilst knowing that your friends and family from home can be reached easily.
Get to know your new friends and flatmates
Make sure to make an effort with new flatmates and course friends. In first year, it’s likely you’re all feeling a little nervous about being away from home. Organising flat get-togethers (like watching films together or game nights) can boost everybody’s mood and help you all get to know each other.When you have a good relationship with your flatmates, settling into university life can feel a little easier.
Prioritise your physical and mental health
Make sure you’re taking care of yourself - eat nutritious meals, exercise often and schedule ‘self-care’ time where you can take a break from your studies and do things you truly enjoy. Movies, flat get-togethers, gaming, reading, yoga, spa nights… the list is endless. Getting enough sleep is also a huge factor in feeling your best at university.
Remember, it’s okay to take a while to settle into your new life - don’t feel pressured to immediately take to living away from home. There is always support available if you feel as though your mental health is not at its best -speak to your University wellbeing services, family, friends or mental health charities like the Samaritans if you need immediate help. There is no shame in struggling with your mental health or experiencing homesickness whilst at university, especially during a pandemic.You don’t need to feel along - there will always be someone available to lend an ear.
These are HYBR’s top tips for dealing with homesickness whilst at university. For more advice on prioritising mental health at University, checkout these articles on anxiety and coping with the effects of the pandemic on mental health.