Friday 26 September 2014

Freshers' Week at the University of Nottingham - 4 (Homesickness)

- Anna-Ruth Gray, Nottingham Student Minds

26th September

Feeling Homesick?

Getting towards to end of freshers week means that many of you will now feel rather homesick. If this has been your first time leaving home and being independent then missing your friends, family and pets is perfectly normal and to be expected. Being somewhere new with people you don't know very well can be difficult, especially when you know that you have 3 years ahead. It can seem overwhelming at first. But, you will soon settle in and if you're having some difficulties and want help, here are a few little tips.

  1. Be true to yourself!Many articles I've read about freshers suggest that you force yourself to go clubbing as that's where everyone meets and you have to make friends e.c.t. My opinion is (as cheesy as it sounds) is that you should be true to yourself! If you love clubbing and the fresher's nights then of course do them and have a fantastic time but, maybe try to pace yourself. If you aren't a clubber try some of the alternative events that really appeal to you or even stay in your hall and go to the common room and then you may meet others who didn't fancy a night out either. If you force yourself to go clubbing if that's not you then the chances are you won't make friends with people who you really click with. Nottingham has so many alternative events on offer there is bound to be something for you!

  2. Share how you feel.I'm not necessarily talking about a big emotional talk with people that you've just met, but, if you mention your homesickness to a new friend the likelihood is they feel the same and at least then you will feel reassured that it's not just you. Although everyone may look as if they are having the time of their lives with no worries, it's unlikely that they feel as carefree as they look. If you don't feel comfortable talking to new friend, then ring a loved one. Have a bit of a chat or cry to your mum or your best friend down the phone, even better if they've been to uni themselves, they will completely understand. Failing that, if you feel alone call the universities listening service Nightline on 01159514985 and someone will be there to listen and reassure. Don't sit and worry, do call them they'd be happy to help!

  3. Do something you enjoy.Cheer yourself up with something you enjoy, it might not get rid of the homesickness completely but, it may help lighten your mood a little. Go for a run, do some yoga, dance, sing, watch something funny. You could even go exploring and maybe invite a new friend to join you. There is so much to do in Nottingham you could go to Woolaton park, visit the castle or just go and treat yourself to some new shoes (if your loan can stretch to it). The city centre always has a lot to offer.

  4. Look after yourself.You've probably heard this a million times but, it cannot be expressed enough that you need to look after yourself! If you start to feel really ill and exhausted that will only make feeling homesick more pronounced. You should really try to:

    - Get some sleep! Even if you have to have a nap in the day. Lack of sleep can make you ill very quickly and you'll wish you had when fresher's flu creeps up on you.

    - Eat well, try not to just live off the free pizza from freshers fair. Get some fruit and veg in you, maybe even take some vitamins as an extra illness prevention.

    - Keep Active, although when you feel low you might just want to hide in your room, try and go for a little walk/run/cycle and get some fresh air and exercise.

If you're still feeling homesick after using some of these tips, don't worry it will soon pass. Freshers week is not a typical uni week and everything will soon settle down. It might be that your friends will be mainly course people or society people rather than the ones you're living with. So, persevere and get out there and you'll soon find people that make uni feel like home. Then you'll be having the most amazing time! If you're worried or feeling alone contact student minds or come along to one of our events and you'll always have someone friendly to help you and point you in the right direction. :)

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