If you are reading this blog post, it might mean that you are already missing that little haven called home. I know, it is difficult to leave the safest place on earth, to which you are so attached that you can walk through with your eyes closed. But, hey, don’t drown in sadness; look where you are now and how much you have achieved just by arriving here and making the surrounding space your safe corner.
Four years ago when I arrived in Salford, all I did was think about home and how much I wanted to go back and be with my friends and family. Now I know it’s normal to feel homesick for some period. It’s just your emotions and mind telling you you’re out of your element.
Here are some suggestions to battle homesickness which I tried and that helped me to overcome it.
1. Buy a new notebook and write messages to your grown-up self. First of all, you will go out and explore, and it is always exciting to visit that kind of stationery shops with many colourful bits which you have never seen before. Having a nice notebook will encourage you to write down your negative thoughts. This will help you overcome anxiety once you see everything put down neatly on a sheet. I’d suggest also putting down a list of your achievements so far and address it to your future self. In fact, I reckon, writing to your future self is motivating and will make you feel less lonely.
2. For the next two tips, you will need to check the weather in advance. If it is not raining, take your camera or phone and go out. Pretend that you have to show the city to your closest ones back at home and take photos of places and things which will impress them. Imagine you have to create an exhibition of photos of the city through your perspective. This will help you explore new places, visit hidden gems and fall in love with your new home. You might find new cosy coffee shops that will make you feel like a local.
3. Alternatively, rainy and cold days are always great for re-watching old TV series or discovering new shows to watch. Your personal trainer might not approve binge-watching but now and then, when you feel down, you can allow yourself to sit down quietly and enjoy a TV show. This will distract you from your thoughts and who knows, it might even inspire you to take up different activities in future. It’s also worth going to our Clifford Withworth library and checking out their DVD collection.
4. Nevertheless, don’t get too carried away with binge watching. One cheat day is enough to get you back on track. If not, you can sign up for one of the societies we have on campus. Find fellow students who are passionate about your hobbies; it will bring fresh experience and new people into your routine. If you love travelling, you can combine socialising with other students and explore the UK, by signing up to the International Society. They organise trips to various breathtaking destinations every weekend.
5. Believe it or not, your fellow students or your flatmates might be feeling homesick as well. Share your thoughts and your feelings with them, and you can find a solution together. What is more, you can always contact your best friend from home for a chat.
6. You can battle homesickness in advance, by practicing time away from home. Your parents can help you to learn about the new environment by coming with you to attend an open day on campus and talk to alumni as well. This increases familiarity and thereby reduces anxiety.
Also, once you’re on campus, you can get in touch with the Wellbeing counsellors, who will always be happy to help.
One last thing, everything is temporary, and this feeling should pass and will leave space for positive emotions and new exciting experiences.
That is a golden advice. I add an important point. Add a list of telephone numbers of friends, tutors and emergency to your call list so that if you ever feel lonely – call one of your friends you trust and tell them about what has been annoying. Avoid colleagues who are already annoying. Visit Student Union groups and speak to any on weekends or free time. I wish I had remembered this when I was at Salford University but I don’t feel much regretful.