Are you feeling homesick?
If the majority of your time is spent thinking about life back home, your family and friends, rather than feeling excited about your new university life, then you may be suffering from homesickness… But don’t worry, more people than you think will be feeling exactly the same way, and Coventry University is here for you!
Research by the National Union of Students shows that up to 70% of students feel homesick during the first few months at uni, especially when they are a very long way from home, but we have UnCOVered some top tips to help you settle in and learn to love your new home in Coventry.
Symptoms of homesickness include feeling low, struggling with confidence, feeling anxious, thinking about home and family a lot, struggling to be sociable and constantly comparing your old life to how you feel now. While time is a great healer, you’ll be glad to know there are other things you can do to help yourself cope!
When you packed for uni you probably included quite a few ‘home comforts’, or things that you knew would remind you of home. While it’s a good idea to have a few happy momentos, having too many items from home can actually make you feel worse! You may find it harder to accept the changes that come with a new life, if you’re surrounded by constant reminders of your old life.
‘Comfort food’ isn’t just comforting because it’s warm and cosy, often the best comfort foods are meals that remind you of home. Learn how to make Mum’s pasta bake, or (if your Mum’s like mine) wow your housemates with unusual family recipes… Orange chilli anyone? Yes, really.
Talk about it:
Feeling blue is nothing to be ashamed about, whatever the reason, and homesickness is so common that you may well find one of your housemates is struggling too. A problem shared is a problem halved, and talking about how you feel is always better then bottling it up and trying to cope alone. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a friend, you can always speak to our guidance counsellors for confidential advice.
Write about it:
If talking about your feelings seems too difficult, get writing instead! Whether it’s in a secret diary or on a personal blog, writing down your feelings really does help get them straight in your head. Just be aware it’s often very easy to simply write about how sad and lonely you feel, but this won’t necessarily help you. Take the time to write about positive things too, even if at first it’s just happy memories you have of home. Eventually you’ll find you have new happy memories to write, all about your new home here!
We know, we know, it’s cold, dark and wet outside and the idea of leaving your cosy duvet to go out and get sweaty doesn’t exactly appeal… but trust me, it’s worth it! Exercise is one of the quickest ways to improve your mood. Whether you’re running, walking, swimming or dancing, your body will be releasing endorphins – those magic happy chemicals that can help fight anxiety and low mood. Not only will your head feel better, but your body gets healthier and your skin and hair look fabulous too. Win win!
Stay away from Facebook:
Yes you read that correctly. While social sites are a great way to stay in touch with friends when you move, they can be pretty dangerous if you’re feeling homesick. How can you move on and make new friends if you’re spending all your time looking at photos of old ones? While there’s no need to ‘forget’ people at home, you do need to give yourself the chance to make a fresh start and meet new people, so it’s worth taking a few months off from social media, or if that seems too extreme, try limiting yourself to only looking online once a week.
Meet new people:
Easier said then done right? Wrong! It’s always hard to move into a new area, especially if you don’t know anybody there. But this is where you’re lucky, university is the one place where everyone’s in the same boat. The great thing about Coventry University is that as we’re an international university we constantly have new people from all over the world and, just like you, they want to settle in and make friends. Attend welcome events, join societies and say “yes” to social gatherings, because someone somewhere will be waiting to make you their new best friend!
Finally, be kind to yourself!
Hardly anyone feels 100% confident the minute they start university. Just because people look like they are taking it all in their stride doesn’t mean they are. The most confident person in your class could be struggling with homesickness just as much as you, they just cope by acting differently – the more you talk about it, the more you’ll realise how common it is. So, don’t get down on yourself for feeling unsettled or low – just follow to the tips above, be patient with yourself and we promise the feelings will fade away and you’ll soon start to love life at CU.