Now that things are beginning to settle down, you may be feeling more comfortable at uni or you may start missing home. It does not matter if you are a first year, study abroad student, or in your final year, anyone can feel homesick. I moved away from home three years ago and spent most of my time since then four hours away from my home only going home every couple of months. I know what it feels like to be homesick and how much it can get in the way of your time at uni.
It is not something that only affects students that are not going out or not completely adjusted. You can be having the best time at uni and then one day you start to think about how your friends here are great, but they aren’t your friends from back home. You will get sick of having to cook, clean, and make big life decisions on your own and will just wish your parents were there to help. You will even miss your siblings whether they were your best friend or drove you crazy most of the time.
If you are further in your studies, you may hit a point where you would rather move into your parents’ basement then continue pumping out assessments like a machine. Uni life is different and difficult, which makes it hard to get over the feeling of wanting to just pack up and go home. After a couple years of dealing with homesickness from tiny pangs of missing home to thinking I wanted to transfer to anywhere closer to my home, I have found what sets off homesickness and how to deal with it. It will be different for every person, but these are a few tips and tricks to try if you are feeling down.
Steering clear of homesickness:
- Keep yourself busy. You can do this by attending uni sponsored events, finding a new hobby, or maybe even learning something new. Duolingo is a great way to take your mind off things and do something that you can add to your resume.
- Limit the amount of time that you spend on social media. I did this by setting up my phone that I can only get into apps like Instagram, Twitter, etc. when I am connected to Wifi. It will only make things harder if you spend your time looking to see what people back home are up to.
- Do not let Skype dates take over your life. Skype and anything like it are great, but they should never be the reason that you do not go out and do something. If you spread of your Skype dates with people, you’ll have more to talk about when you do connect with them and it will feel more special than just a daily reminder that you are far away from people you love.
- Be proud that you were brave enough to get this far. Stepping out of your comfort zone to some place that you do not know or understand takes a lot. You just have to sit down and remember all the things that you hope to get out of from coming here. Be proud of your accomplishment and think about where it will be able to take you in life.
- Drop all the expectations you made up in your head. No experience will ever be as great as what you made it out to be in your head. You didn’t make 50 new friends in the first week? Fine, but you made two and those two might turn out to be new best friends. You can’t go around comparing your experiences to unachievable expectations and expect to feel good about yourself. Take whatever happens and make it work in the best way for you.
What to do when homesickness sets in:
- Accept it. There is no shame in missing home, family, or friends. If you need to cry, then cry. Make some phone calls or Skype, but get it all out. Once it is all out though, keep moving forward. You can not let it consume you. Do not fight the feeling or ignore it. Once you recognize that you are feeling sad or down, then you can start fixing it!
- Make your dorm/apartment more homey. Find ways to make where you are living more than just an empty, boring white space. You love that band? Great. Buy a poster and hang it up. Buy the same Febreeze that you mom uses. Hang up pictures and decorate. Anything that will make you feel more comfortable in your space, do it.
- Work out. The best time to get fit is now. Working out will take your mind off of whatever was bringing you down. The endorphins will boost your attitude and maybe you’ll meet some people that want to lift, run, or do yoga with you on a regular basis.
- Step outside your comfort zone. If you are someone, like me, that shies away from big social things then make yourself go out and do them. Maybe that may be too big of a step, but trying starting a conversation with someone everyday and you’re bound to make friends. Take trips that you wouldn’t have expected yourself to take. You’ll never have this time back once you graduate so go out and do amazing things with it!
If you have been trying these steps and still can not get out of your funk, take advantage of the fact that the uni has professionals you can talk to. Homesickness can start affecting your school work, your social life, and so much more if it gets too bad. Everyone misses something about where they came from, whether or not they will admit it. There is no shame is taking steps to make sure you are okay. I hope these few tips and tricks will help even just one person or make them realize they need to talk to someone.
Keep your head up and remember to take care of yourself!