Homesickness is something very close to my heart. Coming from a place is 11,000 miles away from my university on Vancouver Island, I have every reason to write on this topic. Getting used to a new place and a new kind of people is definitely challenging, but worth it too! It took me about eight months to get used Canadian culture and speaking in English 24/7 and guess what? Leaving home wasn’t a wrong decision at all. At first, I regretted it, cried over it, and wanted to go back home every weekend possible, but time heals everything! My year away from home has been a roller coaster ride for me. Here are some suggestions I would like to share with any freshman who has just left home and is in a phase of homesickness.
1. Get involved in activities as much as possible: you can actually find tons of new and exciting clubs and sports if you explore your university. Try signing up for at least one club and be committed to it. It will occupy your time and help you miss home less. At UVic , CARSA has cool courses on scuba diving and sky diving.
2. Always look ahead. It’s a natural tendency to miss home, but don’t forget that you’ve started a new chapter of your life. There is no point in looking back and being depressed about leaving home. You are here to achieve your goals and have wonderful experiences. Live in the present.
3. Make new friends and meet new people. Not everyone at your university comes from the same background. It’s good to have friends who have same interests as you, but when you talk to a person who has a different culture, language, or ethnicity from your own, you learn more. Everyone is interesting on their own way. Each one of us has our own experiences with life and our own ways of doing things, so you won’t regret meeting new people and making new friends. It will also make you feel closer to home in a way, as you will be sharing your stories which are specific to the place you grew up in.
4. Keep updated about all the things going back home and try to maintain connections; this is a must. Never miss out on people back home. In the end, those are the people who know you the best. You grew up and lived through all your embarrassing childhood moments together. Despite how busy you are, always try to save some time in your week for them.
5. It’s important to realize that relationships will change. This is probably one of the harshest truths that you eventually will have to accept. Before, you and your best friend went to the same high school and were always together. That’s no more now that you’re miles away. The good part is realizing that even if you are not together all the time, you can still count on each other. Distance never kills friendship, it just changes it.
6. You’ve come to a new place: explore. It doesn’t matter if you are originally from a city two hours away from your new school; you are in a new place. You are there just for four years. Explore every bit of your city. Make plans every weekend and go hiking or camping or try out adventurous sports you couldn’t do back home.
7. Be optimistic. Being optimistic is very important in every phase of life, not just to get over homesickness. Most people, on their first day of university, are unsure of what’s going to happen next. They have lots of questions in mind: “Is this even the right place for me?” or “Will I ever fit in at this university?” or “Was it a good decision to leave home?” The answers to these questions will not necessarily be positive. There is no perfect place, but being optimistic will make you look on the brighter side more. Even if first few weeks don’t go well, you are away from home and are on a four-year adventure!