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Tips for overcoming homesickness at university

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Illustration: Hamnah Noor


New beginnings can bring challenges and uncertainty, but it’s important to remember you are not alone

Starting university can seem daunting. As you plunge into a world full of diversity, learning, and change, it’s a place like no other. For some people, a fresh start is a dream come true. For others, leaving home can be tough. It’s important to remember feeling scared is totally normal: You certainly are not alone. Plenty of students have been in your shoes, and plenty of students have truly found a sense of belonging at university. To help you settle in, aAh! rounds up some handy tips to keep in mind if homesickness hits.


DON’T FIGHT IT

Many of us feel a vast range of emotions as we experience new things in life. Excitement, nervousness, anticipation, the buzz of a new beginning. These feelings are expected, but sometimes, other emotions can take us by surprise – such as loneliness and anger. It can be a hard pill to swallow, but university isn’t all fun and games. Maybe you feel as though you haven’t settled in as easily as your classmates, or you might find yourself missing old friends or family. According to the National Union of Students, up to 70% of students feel homesick during their first term at university. Our advice? Don’t fight it. It’s completely normal to feel homesick and overwhelmed. Don’t feel pressured to get settled in too quickly if you’re struggling. If homesickness hits, allow yourself to feel it, just don’t dwell on it for too long. Adjustment takes time.

EXPLORE YOUR SURROUNDINGS

Get out and about. Immersing yourself into your surroundings can help you feel more connected with the places and the people around you. As you’ll soon discover, Manchester is a bustling city, full of vibrancy and adventure. From cafes, to clubs, theatres, galleries… What’s not to like? There’s something for everyone. Finding a local study spot is always useful, especially if you’re surrounded by like-minded students. Or you could invite your coursemates out for a few drinks to break the ice. Becoming familiar with the city will make Manchester your home in no time, even if it’s just taking a trip to the library.

MAKE A HOME

When you’re done exploring, it’s important to make sure that you have a place of comfort to go back to. Making your room feel cosy and home-like is a must. After all, home is where the heart is. It could be as simple as putting up some photos of your friends, or bringing a certain item from home, such as a rug or a pillow. You could even buy some plants to add some life to your new room – just remember to water them. It doesn’t have to be much, but a little bit of personal touch can go a long way. Simple activities such as cooking one of your favourite meals can also make you feel right at home.

JOIN A CLUB OR SOCIETY

Luckily for you, Manchester Met is filled with societies and clubs of all tastes. From archery, to book clubs, to debating, to fashion – there’s no excuse not to dive in. Joining a society is easy, and it allows you to pursue your interests alongside like-minded people. Becoming part of a society is a perfect way
to find a sense of belonging at university by bringing you out of your shell. Pay a visit to the Union or follow @TheUnionMMU for more info.

REACH OUT

Support is always on hand. Feeling lonely at university is not out of the ordinary, but if it gets too much, don’t hesitate to reach out. Manchester Met has a great community here for you when you need it. Your personal tutor is on hand for support and guidance, so you can always reach out to them for advice whenever you feel fit. The Student Union also has an Advice Centre where you can find experienced staff who offer a helping hand in times of need. Remember, you’re never alone at university, so don’t ever be afraid to speak up if you’re struggling.

Visit the Advice Centre or call 0161 247 6533 for support.

About the author / 

aAh!

aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

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