Thursday 7 July 2016

Six tips to avoid homesickness when you first start University

Sian offers six tips for any new student moving away from home to start their life at university

-Sian O'Brien

You have a place at university. Congratulations! No doubt you are very excited and nervous to start your adventure as an ‘almost adult’. With university comes freedom, which is great, no more having to eat your mums’ cooking, that is mediocre at best, and no more nagging! However, believe it or not, you will probably miss home.

Homesickness is common in students. Here I am going to tell you how I found being at uni for the first time and six tips to help reduce homesickness: 

Pack things from your room at home; make your room at uni feel more like home. Summer is over and the car is so full you are sure it won’t start. It wouldn’t have been a genuine first time student experience if you hadn’t had to pull everything out several times to check you packed your toothbrush, phone charger, and that one pair of socks you are convinced are lucky. Once you are sure everything’s there, you are all set to go! But, don’t forget to bring those special items from home. So if that means bringing cushions, bunting or posters you should try to replicate everything you love about your room, at university. 

Instead of unpacking straight away, go and explore. After arriving at halls, you may feel very nervous (I did), mainly because you knew that very soon you would be alone. Leave the unpacking for later when you’re by yourself; it will stop you over thinking! You could instead find the nearest shop, and work out how long it takes to get to uni with your parents.

Say goodbye properly. You have explored the city, and know it takes exactly 12 and a half minutes to get to uni, but now your parents have said they want to go home. I know it is embarrassing, but give your mum and dad a hug. Trust me you’ll need it, because as soon as you see the car pull away there is a high chance you will cry. I did and so did some of my flatmates, but if you do, don’t worry- they are only a phone call away.

MAKE FRIENDS! Your parents have gone, and you have said ‘hi’ very nervously to someone down the corridor. It’s awkward meeting people for the first time, but honestly, everyone’s friendly, so make lots of friends. You may never talk to some of them again, but by making friends, you will soon find the right group of people for you! Don’t worry if you don’t fit in straight away. You will be surprised how diverse the student population is, there will always be someone for you! You’ll soon find you aren’t the only one who has a weird obsession over the lead singer of that band, you were convinced no one has ever heard of.

Get involved with uni life! If that means joining a club or going out and meeting people in the Students Union, getting involved can distract you from feeling homesick. On the first day I arrived at uni, I went to a taster session for rugby. I loved it, and the girls were so nice and supportive! So, if you are really into football, films, or Indy bands, there will be a club or society for you, filled with likeminded people. 

Finally, regularly contact your parents and friends. I ring my parents every Sunday and regularly call my friends. This is a great way to keep up to date with family affairs, gossip, and make sure that your beloved pet goldfish ‘bubbles’ hasn’t  been eaten by the cat. Whatever your relationship is with your parents, siblings, and friends, it is important to let them know how you are doing even if it’s just a short 5-minute conversation or a quick text, it helps to keep your homesickness away.

Getting ready to go to uni? Find out more tips about getting started with our Starting University guide.

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