Victoria's Tips for Coping with Homesickness
Written by: Victoria Lun, 4th Year Medical Sciences
I still remember move-in day at Saugeen like it was yesterday. I definitely overpacked because the hallway outside my room was crammed with all my belongings. It was also overwhelming to meet so many new people who were going to live in such close proximity to me. After I had settled in and started my classes, I started feeling very homesick – a feeling I had never experienced before. I didn’t know what to do because I couldn’t go home and I couldn’t start slacking in my academics. Luckily, I learned a few ways to cope with feelings of homesickness!
First off, I was really fortunate to have a great group of friends that I could lean on for support. My friends and I explored London to try and find some new restaurants and activities we could do whenever we wanted to take a break from studying. We also used to visit each other’s residences and found such startling differences between them. This was a lot of fun and it allowed me to appreciate being away from home. It was also a distraction from feeling homesick.
Another thing I did to cope with homesickness was looking back at pictures on my phone. I reminded myself of all the good times I had prior to moving out and seeing all these memories was comforting to me. This prompted me to stay in touch with my family in friends while I was away at school – but not too frequently because I didn’t want to be too dependent on them to cure my homesickness. It was nice to have some catch-up sessions once in a while, but it also gave me a chance to learn to be independent and explore my new surroundings.
Lastly, I realized that overpacking actually helped me! I brought so many things that reminded me of home, and this was the biggest thing that helped when I was homesick. Whether it was a keychain my sister got me on her trip to Ireland, or a necklace my mom gave me, anything that had a story behind it reminded me of how I can still be close with my family, even though I was far from home. It also helped me during times where I was stressed from midterms and finals, killing two birds with one stone.
Now that I’m in my last year of undergrad, I still feel homesick at times. Remembering how I coped with it back in my first year has been one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned from university. The feeling of homesickness can be tough to handle at first, but once you find strategies that work for you, it’ll get much easier. University is a tough time, but it’s also one that’s super exciting when you allow yourself to become immersed in it. Focus on the positives such as meeting new friends, exploring your surroundings, and learning to be independent, because there will always be a way to connect with your family and friends even if you’re cities apart.
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