Handling Homesickness at College

It happens to all of us. You’re smack bang in the middle of the semester and enjoying yourself one second; and the next all you want is a hug from your mum and a nice homecooked meal and your own bed. This tends to especially be the case, when the annual winter flu hits campus, or especially right now with midterms rolling around even though I could have sworn it was only just summer break. Homesickness is unfortunately an inevitable part of being away way from home; you can’t get one without the other. Here are some of my top tips for when the homesickness blues happen!

 

1. Remember it’s fine to feel homesick

Society puts a lot of pressure on your days at university to be the best three or four years of your life, all fun, all the time, forgetting that, just like every other point in your life, not everything can be good constantly. Like I said, feeling like you want to escape college life for a bit and be a kid at home again is a very natural thing to feel, and probably something you and every person who sat falling asleep in the lecture hall has in common. So, don’t worry or be too hard on yourself if at some points you don’t feel like you’re having the best time ever. Good times come as bad ones do, and it’s all part of the experience to know how to navigate them.

 

 2. Call, text, facetime!

I was thinking how, if it had been 50 years ago at college, it must have been a lot harder to deal with homesickness, because they didn’t have all the ways of staying in contact we do now. Luckily in 2019, in a matter of seconds you can be on your phone facetiming your parents or your friends or your dog, and even though I know it’s not really the same as being at home, it’s a good second best. Part of the issue with feeling homesick, could be that you feel disconnected from the people you left behind at home when you went away. Or maybe all your friends have gone off in separate directions too and you feel like you’re losing contact? You’d be surprised at how much even a half an hour phone call once a week can help you feel like you’re in the know a bit more. As well as talking about your life at college, ask your family and friends about what’s going on at home, if you think this might help you feel like you are more involved. I find its best to always have some phone calls or facetimes pencilled in my diary, which gives me something to look forward to when I’m really feeling far away from home. Try and do this instead of calling every day because this might have the opposite effect and make you feel worse!

3. Distract yourself

I know when I’m feeling rubbish, the temptation to stay in comfy clothes, eat rubbish and watch TV in my room can be strong. And maybe that’s good for an evening, but spending too much time on your own, especially when you’re feeling homesick is just going to make you feel lonely, or more distant from people. Try and distract yourself by getting together with you friends at college, or trying out some new activities, maybe getting involved in a new sport or society. Colleges tend to plan lots of events for students, some even aimed at stress or homesickness e.g the dog-destress events, so maybe go along to one of those to lift your spirits. 

4. Talk about it!

This might sound contradictory to what I just said, but if you are feeling homesick, don’t try and deny it. Instead talk about it! You can go talk to on campus support or maybe a trusted advisor if you’re struggling with it. Or even just have a word with your friends, so they know you’re maybe not in the best place. You never know, they are probably feeling all the same emotions you are and sharing that will help you feel better and more supported. If you think it’ll help, try popping home for the weekend now and then if that’s possible or maybe invite someone up to come visit you for the day. This again will give you something to look forward to when you’re feeling down.

 

Homesickness is part of college life, even if you wish it weren’t. Try and remember even when you’re feeling sad about being far away from home, you’re gaining a lot from being more independent and all the life experiences you’re getting at in college. You don’t need to be embarrassed about feeling homesick, or lonely, try and embrace it as a sign you’ve got a strong happy life at home, but don’t let it get too much in the way of the life you’re building for yourself at college.