Laura, 20, shares her tips on dealing with homesickness or loneliness at university.
Making the decision to move away for university brings with it a lot of excitement, but also a lot of worry for some people.
In this blog, I will discuss my own experience with homesickness and loneliness while at university and I will also share some tips that helped me manage these feelings.
My own experience
There have been times at university where I've felt homesick and lonely. I think it's very easy to push these feelings away during the first few weeks of university as there is so much happening; but suppressing these feelings will not make them go away. In my experience, the reality of being away from your family and friends sinks in when you're alone in your room - thoughts start swirling around in your head and you may almost convince yourself that you've made the wrong decision by moving away. I think it's very important to have some strategies in place from the beginning to help manage homesickness and loneliness in order to sustain a good level of mental health while at university.
Here are some tips that helped me:
Stay in regular contact with friends and family
In the first few weeks of university you're constantly experiencing new things. During this time it is extremely easy to fall out of regular contact with your friends and family at home. Setting up a routine in which you contact your friends and family regularly throughout your week will help with feelings of homesickness or loneliness. I find that facetime and phone calls are the best form of communication as you have the chance to properly express how you're feeling, which is something that is difficult to do just through texting.
Join a society or sports team
Although there are opportunities to meet people on your course at university, it can be difficult to fully get to know someone as there isn't always the opportunity to talk during sessions. Joining a sports team or a society that you're interested in can help you to meet people that are similar to you. I found that joining the dance society helped me to meet new people with similar interests to me, who are now the people that I go to if I'm feeling particularly homesick or lonely.
Use the support your university offers
I can assure you that most students feel lonely or homesick sometimes. If you think you need support, I would advise speaking to those around you or your friends and family at home - simply speaking to people that care about you and your wellbeing will help you feel better. If you continue to feel homesick or lonely, I'd suggest seeking help from the support services your university provides; for example, they might have a wellbeing team or a mental health advisor. You shouldn't feel embarrassed about doing this as this is what they're there for.
You are allowed to feel homesick and lonely - this is just a normal part of the process.
Moving away for university has so many benefits and brings with it many positive experiences. However, you are allowed to feel homesick and lonely - this is just a normal part of the process. The important thing is to engage - engage with your friends and family at home, engage with sports teams or societies, and engage with the support that is offered to you.
I hope these tips help you deal with any feelings of loneliness or homesickness at university. It's also worth remembering that, however you are feeling, you are not alone.