Coping With Homesickness

Moving away from friends and family to study at university can be a daunting prospect. Some take to the new routine and environment like a duck to water, others experience the longing for home, a familiar face and the comfort of their own bed. I’m a third year English Language student who comes from a very close family and all I’d ever known was home. I’d never really been homesick before, the school trips to places like Paris were just exciting for me! However, when I found myself moving over an hour away from home to the realms of Lancaster and student halls, it hit me hard. But I’m here to tell you now, living proof from a third year, it does get better. Here are a few tips that helped me when I moved away:

  • Wait it out

I know that your instinct is probably to run back home as soon as you possibly can but this, most likely, is not going to magically cure you of that homesick feeling. When I first started at Lancaster, I decided that I’d wait a month before visiting home, to give me the time to really settle into my accommodation, make friends and get used to the leap from A level to undergrad education. I knew that if I had allowed myself to return home sooner, then I’d find it even harder to tear myself away from my home comforts. There’s no denying that it will be difficult at first but if you try to juggle both university and home visits in those first vital weeks, you’ll find yourself exhausted, particularly if you live a fair distance away.

  • Throw yourself into life

Join societies, follow your hobbies, bond with your flatmates through films and food. If you stay locked away in your room the whole time, of course you’re going to feel homesick and isolated. We have so many wonderful societies here at Lancaster, why not sign up to a handful that interest you? That way, you can make friends with like-minded people and having lots of fun on your socials will definitely take your mind off things for a while! 

  • Talk to someone

Please, please, tell someone how you feel! I can assure you that at least one person you encounter from your course, societies or your flat, will be feeling the same as you do. And if you know someone who is feeling a bit homesick, spend some time with them, involve them in group activities or simply invite them to make dinner with you!

If you feel like you have no-one to speak to, try the Lancaster University Nightline service (http://nightline.lusu.co.uk/) which is an anonymous chat line that is available from 10pm-8am during term time. Alternatively, every college has a college welfare officer who will be more than willing to have a friendly, confidential chat with you.

  • Look after yourself

Eat well, sleep well and don’t be hard on yourself. Admittedly these are good rules to live by during university and life in general, so don’t ignore them!

  • Set a personal goal

At times, you may feel like giving up and going straight back home but if you do that, you could find yourself regretting your decision and always wondering ‘What if?’. My personal goal as a Fresher was to stick it out for an entire year so that I could experience university life all year around, from Christmas to birthdays. If I reached the end of that first year and decided that university away from home wasn’t for me, then at least I could say that I gave it a fair shot. Your goal doesn’t have to be a year, it could be one term, two terms, just something to keep you motivated! Once you reach that goal, it’s something to be proud of and you’re likely to look back and surprise yourself about how well you’ve settled in and enjoyed yourself.

Everyone is different, these personal tips will hopefully help one of our readers because they certainly helped me through the first couple of months of university. Looking back, I wouldn’t have changed anything as I have learnt so much, both in life lessons and through my studies and I have met so many wonderful people because of university. I hope that you enjoy your time here!