Moving to university can cause you to feel homesick. Moving away from your family, friends, boyfriends and girlfriends can be really difficult, especially if it’s long distance.

I know that overcoming homesickness and missing my loved ones was one of the struggles I faced when I moved away from home to study here at Leeds Beckett. I want to help you, and give you some advice for how to avoid or overcome it!

Some symptoms of homesickness:

  • Constantly thinking about home
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of motivation
  • Feeling different from others who seem to be having a good time
  • Irritability
  • Loneliness
  • Missing the things, people and places associated with home
  • A negative outlook

Here’s my advice:

  1. Keep busy
    Keeping busy really helps if something is playing on your mind. Leeds is a huge city with lots of things to do. Utilise your time wisely and make the most of this experience. Ask friends if they are free to socialise, join societies and get stuck in with the activities, or find a part time job. All of these will broaden your friendship group and give you some great opportunities.
  2. Bring items that make you feel at home
    Home is where the heart is, so making sure that you make your university room as homely as possible is key. One thing which I did was to make sure I bought the same washing detergent as what we use at home, so that my room and clothes would smell the same. Decorate your room with pictures and old cards. Make it your own so that you feel super comfortable.
  3. Keep in touch
    Make sure that you keep in regular contact with your friends and family at home. FaceTime regularly, and text when you can. It’s important that you make an effort to maintain your relationships with your friends from home, even though you’re busy. Also, it really helps to talk with your new friends about how they keep in touch with everybody at home. They will be in a similar boat, and they may have found other fun ways to stay in touch.
  4. Put a date in the diary
    For me, having something to look forward to always gets me through a difficult time. If you’re really missing home, arranging a visit back there and catching up with all of your friends and family will help. No matter how far away it is, once it’s booked it will make you feel better. Try not to wish your time away though, your time at university will fly by even more if you keep wishing it away. Purchasing a railcard is really useful if you plan on going home via a train. You get 1/3 off of train fare, which can make a really big difference.
  5. Take care of yourself
    Make sure that you are eating and sleeping well. Try preparing new recipes, or ask your parents for your favourite recipes from home so that you can have some comfort food. Get out and exercise a few times a week if you can. If your physical health isn’t great, your mental health may suffer too.
  6. Give yourself time
    Feeling comfortable with being far from home won’t happen overnight. For most people, this will be their first time moving out and living without a parent or guardian. It’s step one of growing up and maturing and it’s great that you have the opportunity to stand on your own two feet. Don’t panic if you take a while to get used to it – it’s normal and most people are in the same boat. Take your time and enjoy the university experience while you can.
  7. Stay positive
    Try to plan your days so that you can stay on top of work – feeling overwhelmed with deadlines and work will not help your mind-set.
  8. Ask for help if you need it
    There are lots of people at university that will help you if you need it. Speak to student services in the first instance and they will be able to advise you who to speak to. Also, your friends and family back home would want to know too if you really did feel down. They could come to visit, or send you a little something in the post that may cheer you up. A problem shared is a problem halved!

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