Monday, 30 November 2015

Feeling Homesick

One of the biggest parts of university is the aspect of moving out and living for yourself - learning to cook, keeping your room clean without being nagged and not relying on a parent or anyone else.

Some people struggle with this - personally I found it quite difficult to adjust but I'm approximately four hours away on a train. I know people who can nip home for the afternoon and others who take their washing home every weekend but that doesn't work for me.

So I thought I'd talk about five ways that helped me cope with moving away from home and not starving!

Number 1: don't be afraid to ask questions!
It's likely that your parents are as worried about you as you are a little bit scared to be away! If you don't quite know how to cook something properly or you don't know how long you can leave last night's dinner in the fridge before it starts growing something gross, just ask! My mum got so many questions about how to cook pasta and how often I have to change my sheets in the first week and she said she was relieved to have me ask, rather than worrying if I was doing it at all!

Number 2: surround yourself with new people!
This can be different for everyone - with freshers events, halls and a brand new course to get used to, you can be surrounded by a lot of new people and if making new friends can be a little bit overwhelming, I don't mean you need a group of twenty people around you! Distracting yourself with new friends and getting to know new people - no matter how many there are - is a good way to really be absorbed into university life and not spend all your time worrying about home.

Number 3: find a set time to contact home!
In the first couple of weeks, I rung my mum on a Monday night and we chatted for an hour or two about what I'd been doing in the week, people I'd met and things I'd learnt and she could tell me about what was going on at home. But only being on the phone once a week meant we could really catch up and have a lot to talk about without spending the whole phone call talking about what we're missing out on in each other's lives. If you're thinking about home too much, you're not going to be paying attention to what's going on in your new life!

Number 4: don't go home too often!
Since moving in mid-September, two and a half months ago, I have been home twice - for my sister's birthday and my dad's birthday. It's likely that after Christmas I won't be going home as much because I don't have the reason to and I'm much more settled now. If I'd gone home any more than that I think I would have struggled a lot to go back to Southampton because I'd have gotten attached to home again - it's a balance of going home and getting that familiarity but also making your university town or city your home too.

Number 5: bring aspects of your old home into your new one!
In my home town bedroom, I always had fairy lights and lots of pictures and posters on the wall and nice blankets and pillows to make the room cosy and I've done that at uni too. My friends mostly hang out in my room because it's so cosy and cute (mostly their words... but I do love my room!) and it definitely helped me settle into my room faster because it brought that little bit of home into my new home.

Obviously these are things that work particularly well for me - some people don't feel any kind of homesickness, some people aren't ready for uni and that's okay and some people live close enough to their uni that they can commute, but it's likely that I'm not the only one out there that is quite far from home and needs a little bit of help adjusting!

For me it's proportionality - having enough of home that I'm not trying to settle into somewhere brand new but also being able to differentiate my two homes and have different things to look forward to and miss. 

I do consider university my second home now and I couldn't be happier for it!

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