So fresher’s week passed in a flurry, now it’s all just a distant haze of merging faces and flashing lights with little to show from it but a contact list of random numbers saved under names like ‘history boy with the freckles’ or ‘blonde girl flat b’. Meanwhile the dinner plates have started piling and you couldn’t find a spoon to have your cereal this morning. You’ve yet to locate the washing machine, but to be quite honest, with all this reading you’ve suddenly been landed with there’s little chance of finding time to watch your pants dry anyhow.
Everyone seems to have withdrawn slightly, whether it’s out of pure exhaustion or the sudden realisation of the less appealing realities that come with living away from home. It’s hard to say which. But whichever it is, you may be feeling more alone than you have done since arriving on campus. None of your housemates are trying quite as hard as they were last week, spending more time tucked away in their rooms than sat around in the kitchen, and suddenly all you want to do is to spill to someone every memory you have of the little brother you left at home.
Moving away from home for the first time is daunting for everyone. No matter how well prepared you might have been, or how excited you were to finally have your own room or choose your own dinners, little novelties quickly wear off, and the desire to be five-again begins to solidify in your stomach. The comfort then comes in the fact that everyone in your flat, everyone in your block is also liable to be feeling withdrawals from home and the means of overcoming this stage of post-fresher blues is to do so collectively.
You will find there are certain times of day or certain activities which you find hardest to do alone. For me this was usually in the evening, eating dinner alone and no longer crashing in front of the T.V every evening with a predetermined set of programs. The key to overcoming homesickness is first to identify when it is that you feel most alone and at your most vulnerable. These are the times to make arrangements with your flatmates, to create new routines. If, like me, you struggle in the evenings, how about taking it in turns to cook meals, have movie nights in alternate bedrooms, grab a buddy and join the gym, or go out for pudding once a week. It’s setting up little habits like this that will enable you to overcome that feeling of lost childhood, and instead create for yourselves a kind of second family here in Southampton.
Good luck freshers – don’t be blue.