Annabel, Student Intern for Counselling, Health & Wellbeing shares the teams tips for when you are feeling homesick, and how to know when it’s becoming an issue in your life …
There are different things which may lead you to feel homesick, some of which include the distance from home, a sense of anti-climax after joining or returning to university, or unwell parents being further away. These things are all completely normal and most, if not all, students will identify with them at one time or another.
Here are our top 20 tips for Homesickness:
Talk to someone. If you haven’t yet made friends here, then try a tutor, supervisor, chaplain or a member of the Student Wellbeing Team.
Keep in touch. Keep in good contact with the people you have left behind; arrange a time to go back to see them, perhaps after a few weeks. But also give yourself time to get involved here too. Don’t let looking back actually hinder moving forward.
Be open-minded. Sometimes expecting too much can be part of the problem… approaching university life with an open-mind can be your best bet. If you are expecting things to be a certain way it can be more difficult to deal with them when they are not.
Be realistic. Also be realistic about what to expect from yourself. Establish a balance between work and leisure: you are NOT expected to work ALL the time – you would soon burn out. On the other hand, if you don’t put in enough time on work, you can get behind, which adds to stress!
Invite friends and family. Encourage friends and family to come and see you in your new setting.
Refrain from mind-reading. Remember that many other people will be sharing similar feelings, although you may assume that they are doing fine! (You can’t read their minds – just as they can’t read yours!)
Accept how you feel. You are allowed to feel sad and homesick and you are also allowed to enjoy yourself – it isn’t being disloyal to those you miss!
Access help. If work is proving too difficult, can you improve your study skills or your organisation of time and work so that you gain satisfaction from what you do?
There may be people in your School who can help in this area, such as your Tutor or Supervisor. Check out the Study Skills page for tips,
Eat and Sleep. Remember to get enough food and sleep! These affect us emotionally as well as physically.
Meet others. Make contacts and friends through shared activities such as sport or other interests. There are so many clubs and societies within the university and city (see below), that you are very likely to find something that suits your particular interests.
Give yourself time to adjust. You don’t have to get everything right straight away. Nor do you have to rush into making major decisions about staying or leaving.
Try something new. Being active and curious about university life can be useful…. Try something new in the city or get to know a particular place in town. Getting familiar with things can help you settle: http://www.cardiffstudents.com/whatson/all/ Cardiff University’s Student’s Union website
Remember it’s normal. Times of feeling low, stressed and anxious are part and parcel of moving away. There is always a period of ‘adjustment’ that people go through when faced with any change which usually includes feeling initially happy, then lonely, then unhappy, then settled, confident and content!
Break down the term… writing a plan for the semester or splitting the year in to smaller sections can help you plan your time and also helps you to look forward to when you are next going home. Things generally seem more manageable when your break them down in to smaller steps.
Remind yourself. Think about why you were initially excited to come to Uni. Before making big decisions it can sometimes be useful to think about the advantages/disadvantages of staying vs the advantages/disadvantages of leaving!
Long term gains. Don’t only think about the short-term fix to homesickness. Students often drop out of university without thinking about the long-term consequences of their decision. For some students it is the right thing to do whereas for others this feeling passes.
Make yourself at home. Make your room as comfortable as possible… unpack and decorate with some comforts from home.
Say Yes. That phrase ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ can be pretty useful… sometimes going along with things even when you are not entirely sold on them can make a big difference.
Be wise. Think about the coping strategies you use to deal with how you are feeling. It can be really tempting to use short-term fixes like having a drink… when you are not in a familiar environment and feeling low you may be putting yourself more at risk. Also what feels like the right thing to do in the moment or in the short-term does not always provide a solution to the problem.
Self-soothe. Use your senses to help manage a dip in mood. Sight, sound, taste, smell and touch are all great ways of regulating emotions. For example, getting out and about and looking at ‘the great outdoors’, listening to relaxing music, having a cup of tea, the smell of your favourite perfume or having a shower/bath. Simple, but often effective!
Remember to look after yourself and be aware of when you’re feeling down Counselling, Health and Wellbeing team are always here to support you, and our services are tailored to your needs. We will be here throughout your time at university to support you through any struggles, and the service is completely confidential.
Annabel, Student Intern
Your Student Life, Supported.
The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice & Money, Careers & Employability, Counselling, Health & Wellbeing, Disability & Dyslexia and International Student Support.
The Student Support Centres are located at 50 Park Place, Cathays Campus and Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus.
For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.