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  • Anna Dugdale

Tips & tricks to help combatting homesickness

Homesickness is something that most people will struggle with the entire way through

university. No matter how great university is, how lovely your flatmates are, what a great

time you’re having, nothing quite feels as safe as going home for a few days, sleeping in

your own bed, and being looked after by your family.

The first semester is normally the hardest. You may have just spent summer at home or

having the freedom to go back and forth between home and university and now the

freedom has been taken away from you with the start of the new year.

One of the things that got me through the most difficult times at the beginning of first year

was having a date set to go home. I made mine around four to six weeks into the semester,

giving myself enough time to settle it and give it a proper go and let the feelings of

homesickness settle. Having this set date gave me something to look forward to when things

got rough. It meant I couldn’t go home any sooner- as I’d already booked and paid for my

trip home. I relished my time at home even more as I’d waited longer. My parents

encouraged me to wait as long as possible before coming home, insisting I give university a

‘proper go’. I knew the feeling of homesickness wouldn’t last forever, or be as intense, I just

needed to get through the first few weeks.

Another tip of mine is just to keep yourself as busy as possible. Without burning myself out,

I kept myself occupied. I planned things with my friends, studied, worked at my part-time

job. The free time I did have I’d use to speak to my friends and family from home, be it with

a simple phone call or Facetime call. Becoming wrapped up in life at university left me very

little time to sit and be sad about missing home.

Understanding that homesickness is a natural emotion and that you’re being completely

rational with the way that you feel will help you deal with the emotions better. Personally, I

always got annoyed at myself for ‘crying over nothing’, until I realised that I was being

completely rational. I’d moved to a new city, hours from home, virtually knowing no one

and having to take on a new academic challenge all at once; having a little cry every once in

a while, was a perfectly normal way of coping with it.

Something else I picked up on was how much home comforts helped. Having a meal that

you’re used to having at home was unexpectedly helpful. If I’d had a tough day at university,

if I was cold, if I was missing home a little extra, I’d cook a meal that reminded me of home;

normally a Spaghetti Bolognese with some garlic bread. It was something so small but in the

toughest days, it was something to look forward to and massively helped. If the food you’d

eat at home won’t make you feel better, any home comforts will do. Whether you use the

same fabric softener so your clothes smell the same, use the same bedding you would’ve at

home, decorations from your room at home, whatever works best for you.

Most importantly, remember that homesickness is not something that will go away

overnight. However you decide to deal with it, it’ll take some time and getting used to

university will help.

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