Homesickness and how to tackle it!

Hey everyone!

As I come from Northern Ireland, the feeling of homesickness is very familiar and I especially felt it more when I returned to university after the holidays.

After feeling sorry for myself for a few days and texting my mum every 5 minutes throughout the day, I decided that I would try and do something about it. Read on to find out how I deal with homesickness!


What I Remind Myself…

I think that the first hurdle to overcome when you are feeling sad about being away from home is to remind yourself constantly that it is COMPLETELY normal. I sat in my room thinking that I was the only person that could be feeling like this at the moment but it wasn’t until I talked to a friend of mine that I realised, everyone goes through this. 

And so, after reminding myself of this everyday, the feeling started to ease as I knew that the feeling would come and go and when it does, it is okay to feel that way.

 

Talk to someone

As well as talking to your friends about what you are feeling, there are so many other people in the University that would be more than happy to talk to you and offer any advice.

When I was feeling the way I was about being away from home, I reached out to CampusLife with an email and they responded within minutes with so much advice on what I could do to help me overcome how I was feeling. They told me about ‘That Thursday Thing’ which is where a group of people meet up and just chat or take part in activities. They were so helpful and they will even offer to send out their student connectors to your halls to check up on you and to have a chat about how you are feeling.

 

Stay connected to family and friends from home

When I first felt homesick back in September, the last thing that I wanted to do was phone my mum, dad or anyone from home because I thought it would only make me feel worse. I even declined any pictures that my mum tried to send to me of my dog which, if anyone knows me, I would have NEVER done.

I quickly found that talking to my family and friends from home on a regular basis, whether that be through text or FaceTime, really helped me through the tougher times and made me appreciate them more. Till this day, I still ring, text and FaceTime home just for a catch up but, mostly for pictures of my dog…

Rosie really takes the whole ‘even my dog is prettier than I am’ statement to a whole new level…


I really hope that this post will remind people that feeling homesick is so normal and there are so many things that can be done to tackle it but these are the three main tips that I follow when I start to feel a million miles away from home.

“When you feel homesick,’ he said, ‘just look up. Because the moon is the same wherever you go.”

-The Goldfinch-

Returning to Uni after Christmas

If you are currently in your first year of study this Blog might be particularly relevant to you, although it could just as easily be important to anyone at University. It might be your first time back at home for the Christmas holiday’s, especially if you live in a different country to your study. So you have gotten back into your old life routine, your bedroom, friends and family and almost forgotten you ever moved out at all, but unfortunately the time comes when you have to go back up to your halls which while you might miss, may also leaving you feeling a bit apprehensive as you had just gotten used to staying at home again.


The first thing you can do to make things easier is bring any extra thing’s from home you may have not been able to bring the first time or had forgotten, pictures and posters or maybe things like books/DVD’s that you may now realise you actually wouldn’t mind having while chilling in halls.


Invite a friend or family member to visit, it is important to remember that as far as I know you are not allowed to have people overnight within halls accommodation (but that could change so I’ve provided a link to find more information) but it wouldn’t hurt to have them come up for the day or a few days depending on the distance, and stay in a hotel etc. This is a great way to bridge that gap between your university life and your home life and when you may possibly be feeling homesick after christmas, this ‘bridge’ so as to speak is a good way to slowly ease yourself back into independent life.


Plan out when you are next going to visit home and family or friends, putting in a date even if it’s a few months from the present can really help relax you in the long run. If you feel like you won’t see your family for ages it would definitely help to know that in fact you will actually see them in March or April.


Anyways hope you enjoyed reading, any questions ask away!

Jordan

Dealing with Homesickness

Although many people will try to tell you they don’t miss home, or that they were so busy with new things they didn’t even think about it, it’s very likely that it’s not true.

It’s completely normal to feel homesick at any stage of university life, whether you’ve moved across the country or just a few miles away. Here are a few tips to help overcome it.

1- Talk about it.

It’s very likely, especially in the first few weeks of a new term that you won’t be the only one missing home. Talking to your flatmates or coursemates about home can help you to remember the good things about home, but also help you remember why you’ve moved away and all the good things that will bring.

2- Home comforts.

No matter how old you are, there is absolutely nothing wrong with bringing things that remind you of home, even if that is a cuddly toy! Other items that work include blankets, posters, and fairy lights. Anything that makes your room feel like your space, rather than just an empty room.

3- Photos

On the subject of home comforts, I advise you to buy yourself a photo album or two and print out some of your favourite photos and memories from home. Although now a days we mostly store our photos on our phones, there’s something a little bit more special about a physical copy, and looking through them can really help if you’re having a hard time.

4- Call home.

Don’t be ashamed to excuse yourself from social areas in your flat to make a phone call to the family. It helps you to stay in touch with news from home, and to connect with the people who up until now, you’ve most likely been living with all your life. Using apps such as FaceTime and Skype can enhance this as you get to see faces and places, rather than just voices.

5. Make new friends.

Although you may at times feel like you’re betraying life long friendships by making new friends while you’re away, you’re not. Your home friends would want you to be making new friends and having new experiences, and although at times this may be hard to see, it’s important to remember you can always stay in touch with them in different ways, even if you’re not physically present. 

Homesickness 101 and how you can lessen the anxiety

Hey all! Hope you’re having a wonderful beginning to your week.

So… it’s finally September, and the week before Freshers’ and the Welcome Sunday! I’m sure many of you will agree with me that time flies fast!

I remember how I felt last year, waiting for the day I’d have to break more of my personal comforts than I have before. I’m the kind of person who’s always been around their family, never lived in a town other than the one I was born in, and wasn’t good at meeting new people at all… I’m that crazy friend once you know me who’ll always be talking and won’t seem an inch towards shyness whatsoever, but put me in a situation with little to no one I know, and having to meet new flatmates and coursemates and mates in general, and I will freeze up. I’ll want my mum and dad there for comfort and familiarity. I’ll want to be in a town I know like the back of my hand. I’m sure there’ll be the odd person reading this now who thinks “that sounds super familiar and I’m dreading moving”. Well my biggest tip for you will be this: feelings of dread, nervousness, and so on are human and common, but don’t let feelings of homesickness stop you from enjoying your first week at Edge Hill, cause they put on so much fun stuff!

Now, onto the real ways you can help with homesickness. The simplest thing I can suggest is to Skype/call your family. This could be daily, this could be every weekend, whatever makes you feel more comfortable and like you’re still in close contact with them. For some people, it can be super hard to not wake up with their family around them, so this is a great way to make sure you still get to hear their voice or see their faces despite the distance.

Secondly, don’t be afraid to talk about it! Your flatmates or coursemates will probably be in the same boat, and it’s not a bad thing to simply express you’re not feeling too great to them; they’ll probably even help you!

If you feel seriously homesick, and don’t think talking to someone in your flat etc. will help, the uni have some great services to help you. Firstly, there is the wellbeing team in the Student Information Centre who you can talk to in order to get some more tips than what I’m giving you now and to talk about your general wellbeing. One of the things they might suggest to help would be the Milton House Councelling services. When people hear the word “counselling” they can freeze up and think it’s some awful things they just don’t want to have to do, but it’s there if you need it, and the staff are as friendly as can be. They’ll understand how you’re feeling and they often get homesick students talking to them at the beginning of the year, so you’re not the only one! There is also your teachers. My teacher helped me massively at the beginning of the year with stress and homesickness related issues and I’m sure yours will be there for you at the drop of an email too. Just don’t be afraid to speak to someone if you need to!

But overall, the best thing you can do for yourself is not isolate yourself and find things to distract from it. If you sit locked in your room thinking about how homesick you feel, it’ll make you feel it 10 times worse. It takes a lot to go out and do something when you’re feeling that way, but trust me it’ll help you so much.

I’m going to link to an article I did below on making friends and enjoying Freshers’ if you’re an introvert, as this might be useful for some of you! But I hope you make the most of this week and don’t let you nerves get the better of you. Good luck to you all, and I’ll speak to you soon! Feel free to drop me a comment if you have a question or query 🙂

5 ways to make friends if you’re an introvert

Maintaining Old Friendships in New Places

If you decide to attend university quite far away from where you were previously based, you might be worried about how the distance will affect your current friendships. Even if you do stay “close to home,” your friends might be going off to uni and be the ones who are far away. But being physically distant does not have to distance your friendships. As important as it is to make friends at Edge Hill University on your course, in your halls, and in societies, it’s always nice to keep in touch with friends whom you may have spent a good few harrowing years of your life with.

Video calling

Whether over Facebook, FaceTime, or Skype, video calls can be a great way to keep up with your closest friends from home. I’ve found that organising an actual time to call is the best way to make sure these things actually happen – otherwise, life gets in the way and you may end up putting it off or inadvertently being busy.

Gaming

If you and your friends share an interest in video games, then it can be a wonderful way of spending time with them, whilst also relaxing after a day of work. Whatever your preferred platform, personally I’d say microphones are a must. Being able to chat about life whilst you play is pretty great. Minecraft, Destiny, and Borderlands have been some of the games I’ve played whilst catching up with friends.

Rabb.it

Video chat with people AND watch tv. With Rabbit, you can have a typical video call, but stream shows, movies or games at the same time, so you can experience them together. Something I used to do with friends back home all the time, I admittedly haven’t used it much since coming to uni, but it’s a great resource that people should know about!

Visiting

Although it can be a tad expensive, and requires a bit of planning, visiting your old friends (or having them visit you) is one of the best things you can do to keep your friendships alive. If you book trains in advance, you can get a huge discount – even more so if you have a railcard (Santander 16-25 Railcard anyone?).

New Groupchat

After people move off from sixth-form/college, you may experience the death of a groupchat. This may be a long and slow death, the chat lingering on, with fewer and fewer people messaging, or it may be a swift and painless death. Either way, once you realise who has decided to move on, why not make a new groupchat? One with people who are still committed to maintaining old friendships.

Things I wish I knew before university

Here is a list compiled by some of my nearest and dearest friends of things that they wished they knew before starting university:

  1. Do not worry about making friends! You’ll find a group to slot into and you will wonder why you ever let it worry you!
  2. Don’t leave all the referencing to the end of the essay – you’re going to hate yourself for it at the end.
  3. Everyone has different backgrounds when coming to university – you have to respect that, even if they put the milk in before the teabag. 
  4. How to budget! So many students say they wished they had more experience of budgeting before coming to university. Check out this post or this post about budgeting. Why not ask whoever does the shopping if you can be given the responsibility a couple of times before you come, to try it out for yourself?
  5. It’s okay to feel lonely or homesick sometimes – it doesn’t mean you’re not ‘making the most’ of your university life. It happens, and it is a normal feeling. In this case, I’d always suggest contacting friends from university to speak with first; they’re likely to be a 10 minute walk away for you to go and have a cuppa, but obviously stay in contact with home friends too.
  6. You may become distant with your friends from home, and that is okay too. You have whole new different experiences now, especially if you’re doing different courses. For me, it was important that I stayed in contact with those people, and made sure to do so with the people that were interested in staying in contact with me.
  7. Lecturers and tutors don’t chase you up for that piece of work you haven’t submitted, or that book you’ve read about, as much as your high school and college teachers insist that they do. You’re gonna have to motivate yourselves, guys.
  8. How to cook! Similar to budgeting, my recommendation would be to practise cooking some easy meals before you start at uni, particularly things that you know you’re going to be able to afford to cook. Alternatively, make friends with people who really enjoy cooking…

So there are 8 of the (many) things that my friends and I wished we knew before university. Don’t worry – we’ll keep you informed of anything else we really wished we knew.

A lesson in surviving a visit from your parents

Now that I’m in my second year I have found my self going out more and going home less. When I was in my first year I was practically on the train home every weekend and now I find myself not even planning to go home at all. Of course this means that instead my parents are coming up here to visit me. I love my parents and I love seeing them, but when you’ve been living the independent life it can often be a shock to the system having your Mum arrive and within seconds her telling you that what you thought was a spotless kitchen actually looks like it has just been ransacked.

One of the most important things when having your parents come to visit is avoid the spontaneity. For me this isn’t an issue as my parents live over two hours away but for some parents may just wish to ‘pop in’. Organising a visit gives you time to prepare, and by prepare I mean spend the days leading up to it tidying and arranging fruit so your parents don’t think you’ve been living off noodles for 3 months.

Once you know that your parents are coming and you have made the necessary arrangements you can begin to think about how you will entertain them for the day. In my opinion you can’t go wrong showing them your accommodation, introducing the flatmates and then taking them for a tour around your new home town. Be prepared for your parents insisting that you are in charge since this is ‘your home’ whilst simultaneously telling you off for one thing or another.

If you are stuck for ideas on what to do with your parents Charley’s blog has some great ideas for things you can do on the cheap or even for free:

https://blogs.edgehill.ac.uk/insideedge/2017/02/07/budget-days-out-for-liverpool-and-ormskirk/

As well as getting to see your family, them coming to visit you at university has many benefits. They often come up in the car to visit so can replenish your supplies and bring all the awkward sized items that you could never fit on the train. They can run you to the supermarket to stock up on ‘essentials’ whilst you work on your puppy dog eyes for when you get to the till as you think about your dwindling student loan. And last but not least the best thing about your parents coming to visit is the inevitable dinner you’ll go out for together, whilst you make the most of your parents hospitality.

Now obviously having your parents come to visit whilst you are in the midst of your new found independent lifestyle can be somewhat daunting. But make the most it. You may spend days anxiously awaiting their arrival, spend the day of their visit being on the receiving end of the 3 months worth of moaning that you’ve missed out on but once they have gone home you will feel a little sadness and that’s okay. Being away from home honestly makes you appreciate what you have both at university and at home as well and by being able to recognise what you have in both these environments really makes you realise how lucky you are.

 

Combating Homesickness

Moving away from home can be really difficult, especially if you’re moving far away. Homesickness can really affect you at any point of uni, or it may not affect you at all. But you’re not alone in this, everyone has been thrown into the same boat so there’s no need to suffer in silence. Here are a few tips to make those moments a little bit better.

Spend time with friends

Spending time with your friends can really help distract you from missing home. Perhaps you could arrange a night in watching films or go out take your mind off it. This really helped me in my first week of uni as I found I was so busy that I didn’t have time to dwell on what I was missing at home. Another thing that can help is to speak to your friends about the problem, maybe they can relate or make you feel better, no one will be able to help unless you let them know.

Memories

I’ve found one of the best ways to make you feel at home when you’re away from home is

to cover your room in photos of all your friends and family. The longer you’re in uni the bigger the photo wall will grow as you make more memories with more people. Decorating your room can be really fun and you can involve some of your new friends in it too, it can work as a distraction and a reminder of all the great times you’ve had so far!

Communicate

Pretty much everyone has phones these days, you can phone up your family and friends for a good chat or even better, skype or facetime them. Being able to hear their voices or see them can really make you feel better and realise that they aren’t too far away. It could even be possible to arrange for them to come and visit you at some point – it will give you something to look forward to! I’ve had a lot of my friends from home visit me and it’s been great fun introducing them to my uni friends and showing them what life at Edge Hill is like.

 

Get stuck in

Another way to distract yourself is by getting involved in uni life. There are so many societies you can join (as you can probably tell I’m a bit advocate of societies) or you can get together with a group of friends and explore places – there are some really lovely places to see both on campus and around Ormskirk. This will keep you active and give you less time to dwell on what you’re missing and you’ll soon be building up new memories and uni will begin to feel more like home.

Visit Student Services

Student services are always there if you have any problems with homesickness, they also run workshops that help students combat homesickness and other stresses. They can be found here.

The application process is well underway now and a lot of applicants have made or started making their choices so I wish you all good luck for the coming year! 🙂

Home Sickness vs Uni Sickness

Uni sickness is something that I never thought I’d experience, having suffered so terribly with home sickness at the beginning of my first year. But as time has progressed I’ve found myself becoming increasingly fond of my lifestyle at Edge Hill and in many ways it has overtaken the home life that I used to favour. Luckily my home sickness was short lived and with help from Wellbeing team and their homesickness workshop (alongside a few last minute trips home in times of crisis) I am now experiencing the exact opposite.

Coming home for the Christmas holidays has made me realise all the little things about university that I am missing and resulted in what I am now referring to as ‘uni sickness’*. One of the main things to re-adjust to is the fact that often now I am home alone, living in halls this has been a very rare occurrence. I am used to the atmosphere that is associated with living with 7 other people, having people pop in and out at random times to see me and where waking up in the afternoon isn’t considered a bad thing. But I think the thing that I am missing most about being back at uni is that no matter what you do or how weird it may seem, no one really questions you about it. Fancying Coco Pops for dinner? Completely acceptable. Slippers in the library? Whatever makes you feel comfortable. For me it is this overall feeling of acceptance that makes university so enjoyable.

I think something that adds to my longing to be back in halls is the fact that I have made such close bonds with the people that I am living with. It is safe to say that living together really accelerates the relationship you have with other people and you quickly feel as though you have known one another for a lot longer than the few months you’ve spent together in halls. In many ways I think it is s strange feeling to be spending Christmas away from the people with whom you would normally spend every day. As a result of this we decided to have a flat family Christmas before breaking up for the holidays. This was compromised of everything a traditional dinner would be, dodgy jumpers, turkey and competitive after dinner games.

So luckily I’ve had one lovely university Christmas already and I am now looking forward to another.

* Uni Sickness adj. – to have a longing or desire to be back at university or living the university life style whilst living or staying at home.

Going to University far from home

859e4aaf34d4718d89edc79183326ec1 copyGoing to university far away from home definitely wasn’t on my radar. In fact I was pretty happy to stay in the 180° perimeter of my seaside home town Bognor Regis, you know the place, the one and only home of Butlins! I am a complete home girl, so moving far away from home was a horrifying thought to me, being so far away from all my friends and family and ultimately everything I knew, I wasn’t even entertaining the thought of leaving! But when prospectuses were thrust upon us during my first year of 6th form the one for Edge Hill caught my eye. The campus looked beautiful, the layout of the prospectus was beautiful- being in advertising and graphic design this was crucial! And they had the exact course I was looking for! So everything sounded perfect, the only problem being it was 6 hour train ride away…

My mum finally convinced me to go check it out, in my mind I was just going to rule it out, and pray that I really didn’t like it, however this was not the case. Everything was just as I’d imagined the course was fantastic, as were the lectures and the campus was all I’d dreamed it would be. It had such a friendly feel and I instantly felt at home, so I bite the bullet, packed up from the south and moved to the north! – All sounds very dramatic I know.

Moving far away was far from what I’d expected. I thought I’d constantly miss home and wish I could go back, but in all honesty I was far to busy to even think about home! *sorry mum* University was a chance to get involved in loads of new stuff, join societies, meet new people, get a job, get stuck into your course, theres literally so much going on you blink and its already time to go home for christmas! I never regret moving so far away because I love the fact I have experienced living in a new place, and discovering there really is more outside your home town!