University is a particularly challenging time for anyone going through it. Most people leave their home, have to make new friends, have to cook for themselves, do their own washing, buy their own food, keep up to date on uni work etc. It’s an endless list of adult responsibilities and quite often feels like you’re walking a tightrope that’s on fire, naked juggling ten plates! Many students, such as myself, even move to another country to study. In my case I moved from Northern Ireland to England which isn’t all that far but it still involved a plane flight to see my family.
I found this particularly hard as, although I was extremely lucky in having my girlfriend already in England, if I felt a bit rubbish I couldn’t just run to my mum for a cuddle. I’m a home bird and have always been a home bird so going from physical contact to a few texts or a phone call was really hard for me! I very quickly began to feel lonely as I wasn’t even enjoying my course enough to take my mind off it.
Looking back on my year, now that I’ve finished for summer, I’ve had a think about what I should and shouldn’t have done during university to help me feel less homesick and happier in my new environment which I’ve put into a list below. Following these points can help you have a better experience of moving away from home and studying at university.
Spend time video calling : whether it’s FaceTime or Skype video calling is a great way to chat to your loved ones and it feels more personal that texting or phone calls as you can see each other’s face. These calls with different people throughout the week keep you up to date and in contact with people from home so you won’t feel left out or as lonely.
Stay positive : Staying positive can be hard when all you want to do it lay around and feel sorry for yourself but there are ways to help yourself feel happier. Find something you enjoy doing, watch a comedy, stick a positive quote on your wall. Whenever you feel negative actively change your own thoughts to positive ones and you’ll start to feel more positive.
Plan activities : Make sure you plan trips home or to see friends even if it’s just going out for a bite to eat. Social activities can really improve your mood and give you something to look forward to.
Keep busy : keeping busy can help distract you from feeling lonely or homesick. Catch up on some work, read a book, go out a walk etc and you’ll really notice a difference!
Get out of the house : Staying in one room all day can seriously increase the chance of negative feelings and thoughts. The hours may feel like they’re passing more slowly and this can lead to boredom which in turn leads to these negative thoughts so get out of your bedroom! Try doing work in the uni library or go to a coffee shop or just go for a walk.
Exercise and a healthy diet : Exercise and healthy food drastically increases mood and makes it much easier for you to feel positive towards life. Eat more fruit and veg and try to get out for a walk at the least a few times a week. Walking also helps to clear your mind and calm you which is a plus!
Nothing lasts forever so even if you do feel super homesick, work on it and try to keep swimming until the end so you can have a great summer and know you did your best!