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Homesickness at university - a guide!

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    I've seen a lot of these threads floating around in the past few days, and I'm sure that there have been stickied threads in the past about dealing with homesickness. So I thought I'd make a quick guide to dealing with homesickness that people can add to, as they see fit. *

    First of all, homesickness is completely natural. For most people, it will be the first time that they've been away from their parental home and its comforts. Even for those who can't wait to start university, leaving the familiarity of home, its routines, places, people and even pets can be really daunting.*

    So advice #1 - You're absolutely, 100%, you-can-slap-my-arse-if-I'm-not-right, not the only person who is feeling homesick. People just have different ways of masking and dealing with it. I missed my dog terribly when I started university. I thought I was the only one who pined after their pet, until I chatted with my flatmate and discovered that she was moping after her family cat (which, incidentally, used to scratch her to pieces. You can end up missing the weirdest of things).*

    Advice #2 is to manage expectations. Don't be starting uni with a sad Susan attitude, but remember that those who tell you that uni will be the best experience of your life are those who have battled through the tough times and are most likely looking at it with misty eyes and rosy specs. The first few weeks of uni can be a massive anticlimax: you'll have to sort out admin things, the price of cheese is extortionate, you're starting a course with a completely different structure and difficulty that what you've been used to. It's OK if the first weeks feel a bit crap and require an exorbitant level of adultness. You're just starting out. Give yourself time.

    Advice #3: If you didn't make it to the end of #2, I'll say it again: give it time.. Don't make any rash decisions after a week, even two weeks. I'm going to go out on a limb and ask you to stick it out for a term. Deciding whether to drop out or not is a really big decision, and when you're tired, emotional, drunk, and tired of living on beans on toast, you don't tend to make good decisions.

    If you're feeling consumed by homesickness, my most valuable piece of advice would be to simply get out there. Most universities have a plethora of societies to get involved in: once you establish a sense of belonging, whether it's to a sports team or the chocolate society, you'll start to put down new roots. This doesn't just happen straight away - it might take a few weeks. Just breathe and sit tight. It's hard when you're not feeling 100%, I know, and being sociable when you just want to be at home is so difficult. But just remember: everyone's got an equal stake in this. Everybody wants to make friends and make this experience worth it. Cooping yourself up in your room like a chicken will only give you too much time with your thoughts, so do try and get out and chatting to people to distract yourself.*

    Ultimately, you're at uni to get a degree, and that's easily forgotten in the first term. And no matter how crap you feel - keep going to lectures, supervisions, seminars, labs, etc. You'll only feel worse if you get behind because you've missed them all. And if you're finding the academic side of things difficult, speak to your course convenor, supervisor, academic tutor, and of course, your fellow students. Start a study group to kill two birds with one stone: you'll be staying on top of work and making new acquaintances!
    *
    If this isn't helping, and you've given it some more time, try talking to a counsellor, welfare officer or chaplain. I can guarantee you that they've seen and heard it all before. Experience is wisdom, and they've likely seen lots of tired, sad and stressed students at their doors. They've probably seen most of them go on to do just fine.

    If your mental health is beginning to deteriorate rapidly, and your mood is permanently low, you self-harm, have feelings of suicidality and/or worthlessness: see a GP, do call a helpline or speak to a nurse. *

    Lots of people are in two minds about keeping up links with home: some say that ringing home will make you even more homesick, others say that not calling at all makes you more isolated. I think there's a happy medium. For Freshers Week, and even the week after, check in with your parents via text. Let them know you're OK - they're probably pining after you too, you know. But don't get caught up in super-long, sad and mopey conversations: your aim is to get out there and establish your roots to your new home. Of course, if your calls are long and happy, with you gushing about how much you love university and your new mates, 100% go for it!

    Feel free to add things if you feel that you've got any other tips. In the meantime, look at this cute little guy.

    *
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    (Original post by camaieu)
    I've seen a lot of these threads floating around in the past few days, and I'm sure that there have been stickied threads in the past about dealing with homesickness. So I thought I'd make a quick guide to dealing with homesickness that people can add to, as they see fit. *

    First of all, homesickness is completely natural. For most people, it will be the first time that they've been away from their parental home and its comforts. Even for those who can't wait to start university, leaving the familiarity of home, its routines, places, people and even pets can be really daunting.*

    So advice #1 - You're absolutely, 100%, you-can-slap-my-arse-if-I'm-not-right, not the only person who is feeling homesick. People just have different ways of masking and dealing with it. I missed my dog terribly when I started university. I thought I was the only one who pined after their pet, until I chatted with my flatmate and discovered that she was moping after her family cat (which, incidentally, used to scratch her to pieces. You can end up missing the weirdest of things).*

    Advice #2 is to manage expectations. Don't be starting uni with a sad Susan attitude, but remember that those who tell you that uni will be the best experience of your life are those who have battled through the tough times and are most likely looking at it with misty eyes and rosy specs. The first few weeks of uni can be a massive anticlimax: you'll have to sort out admin things, the price of cheese is extortionate, you're starting a course with a completely different structure and difficulty that what you've been used to. It's OK if the first weeks feel a bit crap and require an exorbitant level of adultness. You're just starting out. Give yourself time.

    Advice #3: If you didn't make it to the end of #2, I'll say it again: give it time.. Don't make any rash decisions after a week, even two weeks. I'm going to go out on a limb and ask you to stick it out for a term. Deciding whether to drop out or not is a really big decision, and when you're tired, emotional, drunk, and tired of living on beans on toast, you don't tend to make good decisions.

    If you're feeling consumed by homesickness, my most valuable piece of advice would be to simply get out there. Most universities have a plethora of societies to get involved in: once you establish a sense of belonging, whether it's to a sports team or the chocolate society, you'll start to put down new roots. This doesn't just happen straight away - it might take a few weeks. Just breathe and sit tight. It's hard when you're not feeling 100%, I know, and being sociable when you just want to be at home is so difficult. But just remember: everyone's got an equal stake in this. Everybody wants to make friends and make this experience worth it. Cooping yourself up in your room like a chicken will only give you too much time with your thoughts, so do try and get out and chatting to people to distract yourself.*

    Ultimately, you're at uni to get a degree, and that's easily forgotten in the first term. And no matter how crap you feel - keep going to lectures, supervisions, seminars, labs, etc. You'll only feel worse if you get behind because you've missed them all. And if you're finding the academic side of things difficult, speak to your course convenor, supervisor, academic tutor, and of course, your fellow students. Start a study group to kill two birds with one stone: you'll be staying on top of work and making new acquaintances!
    *
    If this isn't helping, and you've given it some more time, try talking to a counsellor, welfare officer or chaplain. I can guarantee you that they've seen and heard it all before. Experience is wisdom, and they've likely seen lots of tired, sad and stressed students at their doors. They've probably seen most of them go on to do just fine.

    If your mental health is beginning to deteriorate rapidly, and your mood is permanently low, you self-harm, have feelings of suicidality and/or worthlessness: see a GP, do call a helpline or speak to a nurse. *

    Lots of people are in two minds about keeping up links with home: some say that ringing home will make you even more homesick, others say that not calling at all makes you more isolated. I think there's a happy medium. For Freshers Week, and even the week after, check in with your parents via text. Let them know you're OK - they're probably pining after you too, you know. But don't get caught up in super-long, sad and mopey conversations: your aim is to get out there and establish your roots to your new home. Of course, if your calls are long and happy, with you gushing about how much you love university and your new mates, 100% go for it!

    Feel free to add things if you feel that you've got any other tips. In the meantime, look at this cute little guy.

    *
    Very logical process. Sound advice. :borat:

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