Managing Homesickness


Homesickness at University is a difficult and inevitable problem that we’re all facing in unison but can’t help each other with. For me, longing for the comforts of my family home and a chat with my mum consumed me in first year. I felt completely unsettled, leading me to run back home every weekend I could. Going home is not a problem but when living far from your university, travelling can be expensive, time-consuming, and personally, made me resent Southampton. As a second-year student, I can proudly say that I have spent 1 night at home this whole term, and while I still love my home and miss my family, I am content with life in Southampton and my comfort amongst homesick thoughts is something I achieved independently.

The most absolutely vital action to combat homesickness is repositioning your centre of life. Accepting that Southampton is where I live and shifting my mental location has been the largest step in settling here. This isn’t just a mentality. While at university, prioritising friends here and your studies can bind you to the city. While I’m here, my best friends are here, when I’m home, my best friends are at home.
I think that getting a job has been another way to achieve this. A personal income beyond student loans permits me to feel independent and secure in myself. I don’t need to go home for shifts at my old work anymore. I also have made friends and connections through colleagues and customers that make me genuinely enjoy my part-time job.

Another trick that helps me love Southampton (and believe me, a year ago my jaw would drop if I heard myself claiming I LOVE this place), is establishing hobbies that are unique to the location. For me this has been cycling. My hometown is hilly and cycling isn’t accessible in the same way, but the bike paths here are exceptional and cycling provides me with so much serotonin. A few more hobbies I exclusively attribute to my Southampton life include: Running on the Common, walking to the Gym (it’s so close here!), Tesco express meal deals (I could only dream of having a shop open until 11 pm back home) and Charity Shopping in Portswood. When I acknowledge my excitement for these activities, I can be mutually grateful for my life in both Southampton and Essex.

Visiting home might seem like a quick and easy fix but I believe it’s completely counter-intuitive. Going home can remind you of the change of your old life that you can’t get back, and don’t need to! Change means progress, we are getting older and wiser and I cherish that. The sense of homesickness when you return to university after visiting home is oftentimes twice as powerful as the homesickness before you left. Learning to accept homesickness is going to be more effective than trying to remove it.

Something that draws me home is the desire to maintain my relationships with my family and friends. Calling my parents frequently and making sure to send my close friends and family texts, photos, memes, anything! Helps me feel updated and included in these circles. The strongest friendships are not high maintenance; if you and your friends care for each other, that love will always prevail.


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