Today, I’d like to speak about homesickness. Specifically, the homesickness you feel when you are away at university. This is something that I’ve been struggling with a lot over the last few days and especially today.
Undoubtedly, homesickness is going to affect us all in different ways. Some may not experience it all. Whereas for others, it significantly impacts upon their university experience and in particular, their wellbeing. Of course, it’s completely normal to experience some homesickness (especially during those first few weeks!).
I would say that I feel homesick quite often when I am at university. This is barely surprising considering that I struggle with anxiety and other mental health conditions. Home is very much a ‘safe’ place where I have the support of my Mum. When I’m at university, feelings of distress and helplessness intensify.
Generally, I can go through the week feeling okay and home won’t enter my mind too much. I’m busy in university and so I have a constant distraction. However, weekends are often much more difficult.
Partly what contributes to this is the fact that others (especially those who live closer and therefore have a short commute) go home more frequently towards the end of the week. It acts as a reminder that I can’t so easily (or cheaply!) go home every weekend. I’m aware my university is not nearly as far away from home as it is for some (my commute is around two and a half hours). Yet for me, this feels a rather long distance (more than I’m comfortable with, anyway).
In a way, I guess it’s good for me to get that detachment from home. After all, I can’t spend the rest of my life only doing what feels ‘comfortable’. At some point, I was going to have to push myself to move out and become more independent. I have certainly overcome things I never thought would be possible since moving to university. From smaller things, such as turning up to appointments alone, to the bigger, scarier things such as travelling on the train.
Something which helps me deal with homesickness is planning my next trip home to countdown to. Although, I don’t think it’s good to go home too often because you’re only making it much harder for yourself when you return. You also aren’t being away long enough to give yourself a chance to feel better. I made the mistake of going home within five days of moving to university in first year. Long (and rather embarrassing) story short: I was very reluctant to return (and by reluctant I mean my Mum had to come back on the train with me and stay a few days).
I am now going to go and try and distract myself as much as possible from my feelings of homesickness. Perhaps I’ll stick on a movie or FaceTime a friend!
Thanks for reading,