Feeling Homesick?

frog hanginglink for image credit page

Homesick? We know what that’s like

Did you know all of your high school teachers' names? Did they all know yours? Are you starting to feel like nobody cares about your progress as a university student?

Well, that's not true. There are several campus support units on campus that do care about you and want to make you feel welcome, because they know the transition to university can be a lonely one.

One such service is the University Learning Centre. We encourage you to come to our front desk and ask questions. We can give you directions to places you can't find, or refer you to someone who can assist you with whatever barrier you've come up against.

Come by and make a connection with us. We may not know your name but we do want you to adjust to the university lifestyle and do well in it.

Feel free to take some study skills handouts, and please come back and let us know what worked for you so that you can help the next generation of first-year students with their transition.

Making the change from high school to university can be traumatic. You have to adjust to new learning styles, new living situations, new responsibilities, new freedoms, and a new environment, all of this, quite possibly, without the support of the network that has built up around you throughout your life.

It's important to actively prevent and alleviate your feelings of loneliness and loss. One way to cope with homesick feelings is to take matters into your own hands and build yourself a new support network. Make an effort to meet people. There are a variety of clubs, activities, and volunteer opportunities that you can partake in.

The first week in particular is full of opportunities to meet people and explore your friendship options. Make the acquaintance of your classmates; they may not end up being friends you will have for life, but they will be someone you can discuss the course material with and express your anxieties to.

Lab partners are particularly quick routes to class relationships. You will be working with them weekly for the entire term and they will have the shared experience of the class you're in. These two qualities give you a steady date and a route to conversation.

If you're living in residence you have a built-in group of people to meet and discuss your first year experience with. There are also all sorts of events and services available for you to help take your mind off home and help get your university life started.

The first few days are the hardest and you'll get more and more comfortable the further you get into the term. You will develop a routine and gradually your focus will shift from thoughts of home to finishing assignments and weekend plans.

If you continue to feel homesick, even after meeting new people and trying new things, or if you find it impossible to put yourself out there, don't hesitate to contact Student Counselling Services. They are trained to help people cope with their emotional responses to situations and they deal with many cases of homesickness every fall. They are there to help you.

Here's what one student had to say about her first-year experience:

"My first year I was super, super homesick. I really struggled with being away from my mom and my home. I missed everything there was to miss - my pets, my brothers, my dad, the lake, the garden, my own shower, even the way that "home" smelled.

When I came home from a day of high school, I would sit and do my homework at the kitchen table while chatting to mom as she made supper. I missed telling her about my day. Looking back, missing her was strange since I called her at least once if not 5 times a day. I even cried for a whole day once....literally....from the moment I woke up until the moment I fell asleep - in class, at lunch; I don't know what was wrong with me!

What helped me get past my homesickness was talking to my RA (Residence Assistant). She told me that getting involved in things might help - so I found the Women's Centre, SHIP, and other places to put my two cents in. She also told me about Student Counseling Services - they can work miracles over there. Three visits and I wasn't calling home 3 times a day - I kept it to only one. The good news was that I was "healed" by Christmas - well, good enough anyway."

Additional links to resources

-       http://blogs.rrc.ca/housing/new-residents/ten-tips-to-beat-homesickness/

-       http://www.thestudentpocketguide.com/2012/08/student-life/homesickness-5-tips-on-how-to-overcome-it/