For many people, university is the first time that they are living away from their families. It isn't easy, as some people make out that you are obliged to embrace the new independent experience and automatically adjust. But sometimes, living away from home can be difficult, regardless of distance; here are some tips that can help to combat feelings of homesickness at university.

1. Give Yourself Time

Some people will take to university life like a duck to water, embrace their independence and immediately embrace their higher education experience. If you don’t love university the second you step on campus, that’s OK. If you take a little longer to settle in and get used to the new lifestyle, there is no shame in that. It is quite a big life adjustment to make in so many ways, so don’t pressure yourself to settle in immediately.

2. Look After Yourself

Your psychological and physical health are linked together, so if you start neglecting your physical health, your mental health could start to go downhill too and vice versa. Some ways to help physical health are:

  • Ensuring you get enough sleep
  • Eating healthily
  • Doing Exercise

And to manage mental health you could:

  • Talk to someone
  • Meditate
  • Exercise, such as Yoga
  • Do mindfulness activities

Keeping healthy (and fighting off that freshers' flu) will help you to feel more positively about life – it's all about that positive cycle! All of the above examples (plus many more) can help you to boost your well-being.

Photo by Simon Rae / Unsplash

3. Keep busy

Organising social activities will give you things to look forward to and will also aid you in building relationships with new friends. Social activities could include:

  • Going for a coffee
  • Joining a society
  • Going to the gym
  • Joining a club

Even making sure you attend all of your lectures is another way to occupy your mind and combat homesickness. After all, you are actually supposed to study at university!

4. Bring Home Comforts

Some people may laugh at this point, (the idea is to get away from home, right?); it is important to take the items that you need in order to feel as comfortable as possible in your new surroundings. For example, you could take:

  • Family photos
  • Photos of friends from your hometown
  • Your favourite bedding/blanket
  • A childhood teddy
  • Any trinkets that will make your halls more homely.

Don’t be embarrassed about taking any of these things with you, the chances are, everyone else has them too! And, if you forget anything in the first semester, take it for the second one!
A collection of old vintage photos, postcards, and envelopes from Europe.
Photo by Joanna Kosinska / Unsplash

5. Stay Positive

Generally speaking, staying positive makes you exert positive energy and people will want to be around you. This will help you to make new friends and help to combat homesickness even more! Having friends also gives you a support network and gives you the opportunity to discuss homesickness with others if you are struggling. Some ways to stay positive are:

  • Plan things into your day that you enjoy
  • Plan events and activities that you can look forward to
  • Listen to music that you like
  • Meditate

Staying positive can be a lot easier said than done, but making an effort to carry a positive attitude around with you will help you to combat homesickness in a major way.

Photo by Franciele Cunha / Unsplash

6. Talk to People

If you are really homesick and you are really struggling, talk to someone:

  • A friend
  • A counsellor
  • Call a parent or guardian

Most universities will have counselling services that you can turn to for advice and support on how to deal with your feelings

All of these tips can help you to combat homesickness at university, especially if you are further away from home than you expected. Let us know what you think in the comments below or give advice to others that might be experiencing homesickness at university.