As you settle into your new university existence, you may be surprised to feel an overwhelming sense of homesickness. Though you may love the independence of uni life, at times you might still feel sad, out of sorts, or long for the comforts of home. Don’t fret; you aren’t alone—homesickness is perfectly normal for all university students. A recent survey found that up to 70 percent of students will experience homesickness in their early days at university. There are even in-depth medical research projects that focus specifically on this issue.
What causes or triggers homesickness?
Stress can be a major cause of homesickness for freshers or other new uni students. Recent reports show that 87 percent of uni students feel stressed, while 77 percent experience anxiety. Stress is a part of life. However, learning to manage new situations away from home can present a unique challenge and make you wish you were back home in familiar surroundings.
Now that you know the feelings you have are real and common, what can you do to ease them? Try our top five tips on how to deal with homesickness at uni:
1. Keep Busy
Even if all you want to do is curl up in bed and cry yourself to sleep, fight the urge! Get out of your room or apartment and keep yourself busy. We promise you, there are plenty of activities hosted by your campus or student living community. Do a little research to find societies that offer your favourite activities, like hiking, playing video games, or study groups to help you focus on your coursework. If you aren’t ready to commit to a club or organisation, try going out for a sporting event. Either look for discounted tickets (a perk for uni students) or head to a local pub to watch a match.
2. Get Physical
Exercise has many benefits, especially for those who feel sad or anxious. Besides helping you keep your mind occupied, exercise produces endorphins—the feel-good hormone that elevates your mood. Don’t get stuck in the trap of thinking working out means that you have to do something boring or repetitive either. Find an activity that gets your heart racing, and you enjoy. Then you’ll be more likely to stick with it. Your first year at uni is a great time to take up a new hobby, like hiking, swimming, golfing, or even rock climbing.
Volunteer opportunities are plentiful at university. Look for opportunities with university-based clubs or seek outside opportunities with local organisations. The benefits of volunteering go way beyond a cheery disposition—although helping others will make you feel better! You also meet new people or potential friends, add valuable skills to your resume, and get an opportunity to give back to your community.
4. Stay in Touch With Your Family (the Right Amount)
It seems simple—if you miss Mum or Dad, call or FaceTime them. However, sometimes if you want to try to suck it up, or worry that hearing their voice will make you sadder, you do the opposite and retreat. Know that your parents, family, or friends would love to hear from you, and it might help you feel connected to them, even while away.
Consider scheduling a weekly time with your parents or fave family member. The regular, short contact might be enough to keep the homesickness at bay.
Alternatively, if after a convo with your family, you feel even more homesick, think about spacing out your calls a bit. When the urge to call home arises, find a distracting activity to do with some of your new mates. You can also try out communication via email or messaging to see if that feels better.
5. Take Care of Your Health
It’s important not to let yourself get run down in other ways when you feel homesick at uni. Make sure to drink plenty of water and eat as many fruits and veggies as you can stand. Most unis or student accommodation have smoothie cafes where you can get an easy boost of nutrition on the go—perfect for a busy day! (If you live at LIV Student, we have smoothies at our vegan-friendly cafe as well as fitness classes in our private gym).
Keep your physical health in tip-top shape with these reminders from the National Union of Students.
Hint: this will also help you ward off the freshers’ flu and boost up your immune system.
Get Happy, Not Homesick at Uni
It can feel overwhelming when you get hit with homesickness, but take a deep breath and remember that you’ll be back with your family before you know it. In the meantime, stay busy and stay healthy!
Want more tips and tricks to surviving uni? Check out our other blogs: