The first few months at the university are an exciting and daunting prospect. For most students, it is their first experience of spending significant time away from their family and is a process which often takes a period of adjustment.
Homesickness and worrying about whether you have made the right decision are common feelings to experience, but luckily there are tips you can follow to make things easier.
Read on to discover some simple and effective methods that will help you worry less and settle quicker.
As you adjust to your new environment, it is normal to want to spend a little time alone in order to absorb and make sense of the many new things you are experiencing. However, being alone also allows a lot of time to ruminate – making any issues seem bigger than they are. This is why it is very important to socialise from day 1!
Joining clubs and societies can be a great way to strike up friendships, and give some structure to your day. Also remember that your flatmates are in the same situation as you, and will likely be living with strangers for the first time in their lives. Communicate regularly and try not to analyse everything other people do. Take the lead and suggest a coffee or shopping trip together to break the ice.
Implementing routines can bring stability to your new life, and help you feel more positive and secure.
Try and do the grocery shopping on the same days each week, and stick to the same route when walking to university. Although these are small tasks, they give structure to each day, making things seem more familiar. Even having a take-out coffee around the same time each day will help this process! You are likely to see others sticking to their routines too, and may become friendly with them.
Inviting your family and friends to visit your accommodation on a regular basis is another healthy habit. If this is not practical, use Skype to get your essential dose of family support.
Focus On Well-Being
A crucial tip for reducing homesickness is to take care of your health! Eating and sleeping well help to put any problems into perspective, increasing your ability to cope with them. Exercise also reduces stress levels, as well as making you look and feel at your best.
Ensure that you bring some home comforts into your accommodation, and generally make it a nice and relaxing place to spend time. This will give you somewhere you can truly unwind and reduce any pressures that may be building up.
If inconsiderate, noisy housemates or neighbours are making life and sleep difficult, alert the accommodation provider to the issue first. They can remind all tenants of their rental obligations.
After a few months, when habits and a social life are formed, any issues should hopefully settle down, but if they don’t then it is essential you seek help. Talk to your flatmates – they may be having the same problems, or arrange an appointment with the university counselling services.
Throughout life, millions of people access help at some point, and doing so does not make you abnormal or a failure. In fact, it takes a strong person to ask for assistance. If you would rather make initial contact online, the UK counselling charity Relate have a live chat support service, available to people of any age.