Hello again lovely readers,
This week’s post is one I’ve been thinking about writing for a while and decided about now was a good time since it’s when most people really start to miss home. Freshers fun is over, the novelty of uni is starting to wear off a bit and having to walk home in the dark and rain is getting you down a little bit.
As a bit of background, I came to uni (like most people) straight out of school and it was the first time I was living away from my family, who I had always been very close to. It was also the first time I have lived apart from my boyfriend, after seeing him almost every single day since we were 14. I wasn’t someone who drank a lot and wasn’t really sure how I was going to meet new people when I didn’t really enjoy going out clubbing. On top of all that I wasn’t sure whether my course was right for me.
Safe to say it was a bit of a low point – I was struggling to fill my time when I got home and spent a lot of it alone in my room which in hindsight was not my best plan. Truth be told, I wasn’t sure who to talk to because everyone still seemed to be having the time of their lives and I honestly thought I was the only person who felt like uni was not living up to the hype.
Any of that sound familiar?
What I didn’t know then, and I do now, is that a LOT of people were feeling the same way. A lot of people were walking around telling everyone how awesome they were finding uni, not admitting that they were starting to really struggle being away from home.
Homesickness is something very common at University, I just wish someone had told me when I was going through it.
So how do you get through it?
First point I feel I should make is that it doesn’t last forever! This part of uni is the trickiest. You have flatmates and course friends but they aren’t people who you’ve known forever, and you’re also still getting over the huge move from home. It’s a transitionary period when you’re neither here nor there but soon your city will start to feel more familiar and it’s likely the people you know will become some of your best friends, but that doesn’t happen overnight. You just need to stick with it.
You can do things to help yourself integrate quicker. Joining societies or volunteering is a great way to do this because you meet people you might not have otherwise. For me volunteering forced me to get out every week and meet new people, plus it felt familiar because it was something I had done for a long time before moving to uni. Every week I got to go and do something that was of value to someone else and I really think that helped me feel better about everything. Join societies, get involved and meet people! Don’t do what I did and sit at home most nights twiddling your thumbs!
If you are really struggling then don’t be afraid to ask for some help from your university Support Service. Here at Cardiff there is a service where you can drop in to talk to someone, just for 15 minutes, if there’s something bothering you. And if you feel like you need more help than that then there is counselling available too – be aware that depression and anxiety are common issues that can be brought on by loneliness or big changes in your life (or sometimes they can just appear randomly too) and you should always seek help if you feel like you might need it.
Remember it gets better! Soon you will feel at home in your new room and your city will become your second home. It just takes some time 🙂
A quick word on long-distance relationships at Uni. I am by no means an expert, and everyone’s experiences are different, but it’s worth mentioning.
First year is for sure the hardest, I felt very lonely with out my other half around but making dedicated time to see them on a certain weekend every month or leaving a set amount of time between seeing each other will help you manage. Don’t forget to talk, but also don’t be afraid if some days you don’t have a lot to say – living a relationship over the phone is very different to in person! You will work it out between you and settle into a routine.
It’s also very important not to spend too much time contacting your other half. If you spend all your time messaging/skyping/calling them, when are you going to find time to make friends at your university? You will make friends at uni, and you will get used to living apart, but just like everything I’ve said – it takes time! Just don’t be that person who put so much effort into talking to their SO all the time that they never made any friends where they were.
Keep at it – you’ll be fine 🙂 It’s tough sometimes but you’ll get through it. There are still times when I miss being home, but who doesn’t? As you make friends and start to feel more comfortable everything gets 100% better!
I’m sorry this post has been a bit morose – it’ll cheer up next week! 🙂 I’ll leave you with a quote I always think of when I miss home – it’s bittersweet A.A. Milne quote that just reminds you that even though you miss people, how lucky are you to have such awesome people in your life!?
Have a great week 🙂