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Homesickness: How to cope with moving to university

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at St. Andrews chapter.

September marks not only the end of summer, but for many, it also brings the start of a new era: leaving home and moving to university. No matter whether you have travelled across the world or come from an hour away, homesickness is a normal part of life and growing up. Leaving family and friends to live surrounded by other university students can be hard at first, but you are definitely not the only one feeling daunted!

Homesickness is often the worst at the beginning of the semester, or when you are feeling drained from social interactions and all you want to do is snuggle with your dog. If you are having a hard time, whether you are a fresher or just missing home, consider these tips to make homesickness a little easier to deal with.

Being homesick is normal

For most of our lives, going to university has been built up to be the best time of your life, the years that you will remember forever. Because of this, many people feel guilty about being homesick and not enjoying the experience to the fullest. It is important to remember that everyone feels a little homesick – this is a big change and you are doing your best. Homesickness is not a weakness, don’t feel pressured to always have a good time, instead, pay attention to how you really feel!

Share your feelings

Everyone will feel a little homesick at some point, so try to connect with the people around you when you are feeling low – they probably need someone to vent to as well! University students have a particular bond, we are all figuring out how to be on our own together, so sharing your feelings of missing home can often help to open up new relationships.

If you ever feel like you need someone to listen, make sure you check out the guidance services provided by the university or call up St Andrews Nightline!

Put yourself out there

Staying in your room and watching old comfort movies every night may sound amazing, but coping with homesickness also means making a conscious effort to find excitement within your new home. Put yourself out there, distracting yourself with university events and activities can remind you why you wanted to experience this new world in the first place.

No matter your interests, there will definitely be a society or club that will appeal to you. Get absorbed in club activities, make new friends or invite others to come to events with you! At least at the beginning, make sure you engage with as many people as possible, you never know when you will meet some of your next best friends!

Transform your room into a safe space

Part of coping with homesickness is becoming excited about your new home. Your room is an important reflection of you and your emotions, and having a room that you love will have a big influence on improving your mood. Decorate your room and make it your own, either by bringing objects from home or buying something at the poster and plant sales organised by the university. Sometimes homesickness is the worst when you feel like you need a break from socialisation. So, if you love your room, you will be able to use it as your safe space – a place where you can rest and to recharge.

Homesickness is a normal part of moving to university, and it is important to pay attention to your feelings. If you are feeling down now, just keep in mind that this will not last forever. There are so many bright things ahead of you, so don’t look back and make the best out of your time here. Trust me, you will be graduating in a heartbeat!

However, keep in touch with your emotions and listen to what they are telling you. If homesickness is not the main or the only reason behind your low mood and inability to enjoy yourself, don’t be ashamed to seek help. The resources are there, so, please, don’t hesitate to reach out!

Dakota Bennett

St. Andrews '24

Dakota Bennett is a third-year at the University of St Andrews, studying International Relations and Social Anthropology. As an Australian that grew up in Paris, Dakota loves to debate different perspectives and is excited to discuss everything from the latest world news to the history of fashion trends. In her free time (see also: procrastination), Dakota is most likely baking cupcakes, facetiming her dogs, or dancing around her room to Hozier.