Tips for dealing with Homesickness

Starting my first year of university in September was hugely daunting for me, and as I've said in a previous blog post, I struggled a lot with homesickness. So coming towards the end of my first year, I thought I'd share my top tips for dealing with missing home; although I'm scared I'll still face homesickness in my second year, and I still can't see myself going weeks at a time without seeing my family - I'm trying to feel positive that even if it takes a trip home every weekend, I'll be able to do it; with the support of my family and friends (from home and uni).

My first tip is to surround yourself with people. I was constantly (and still do) sitting in my flatmates rooms and having a chat with them; or if they were busy I'd go to uni instead and sit in the cafeteria or library until someone was around that I could hang out with or I had a lecture. As time progressed I also discovered keeping in contact with my family a lot and my friends from home made me feel a lot less lonely. Even if I was just texting a friend from home or one of my sisters. I also found face time really handy. I'm quite lucky that one of my sisters is home a lot so the first thing I do, even now, is call or face time her as soon as I wake up in the morning. It might sound excessive to some people but for me, it works. I'm use to being surrounded by people and noise at home so to go from that to silence (most of the time) it was a big adjustment - especially at first anyway. Thus, having a bit of company when I'm doing my make up or having my breakfast helped a lot more than you'd ever think it would. Some people say you need to cut yourself off from your family for a week or so, so you can adjust to not speaking or seeing them everyday, but honestly at that point, I couldn't think of anything worse than not speaking to my family for a week; knowing I was able to speak to them everyday helped me a lot more than cutting them off ever would've.

My second tip is to go and explore this new place that you're lucky enough to now live in. I admit I didn't do enough of this when I moved away, mostly because I got it into my head that I absolutely hated where I'd decided to go to uni (and to be honest I still struggle with the place now). But I really feel this is a good idea. It can be scary exploring alone at first so drag along one of your course mates or flat mates and find some new things to do - some restaurants you could go out to eat one night, some cute cafes for lunch, a pretty park you could have a wander about in, the main social areas - bars, clubs, the cinema, bowling - the list goes on. Find a few things that perhaps you do at home with your family and could do with your roommates too - it could be something new for them to experience. We have a range of dessert shops that me and my friends love visiting when I'm at uni - we don't go there REALLY often but it's something we enjoy doing together. We go out for food or drinks quite a lot or in my first semester we had "take out Mondays" little group things like that, that seem small, really made a huge difference to helping me get through our first semester.

My third tip is to give yourself time. If you're feeling homesick that's probably the last thing in the world you want to hear; I wanted to be ok straight away and just get on with my uni life rather than missing home and feeling sad and down. But realistically that's not going to happen. I constantly got told to give myself till Christmas which felt like, honest to God, years away, rather than a couple of months. So I know me saying "give yourself time" is probably making you feel worse than better but honestly, it's the best thing you could give yourself right now. Through all the things you're probably feeling right now, you need to allow yourself time to adjust to this new place and the new people around you. You need to get yourself into a new routine and try to stick to it. Once you start lectures it's a lot easier as you already have a set routine that you have to stick to regardless. Even if you want to give up immediately as I did, don't take the decision lightly. Speak to the support centre at your uni or students union, they'll have more information they can give you on your options. Also talk to your parents and siblings or even friends who are at uni or have just moved to uni; there's loads of people around that can give you advice and support you through the decision you have to make. Think about the future too; you don't want to look back and regret your decision and wish you'd stayed to give it more of a chance. But saying that, your priority is making sure you are happy. Honestly, at the start of the year I felt like I was going to make myself seriously ill by continuing my time away from home. But by talking to the student union and my parents we managed to find a solution and from then on something clicked in me and I began to enjoy my time more. Obviously University isn't for everyone, and if you feel like there's no light at the end of the tunnel then do consider your options to move back home or do something else. University isn't for everyone and even if your new flatmates are coping just fine that doesn't mean it's not ok to feel the way you're feeling. It's perfectly legible to feel homesick more people than you think are going through it or have been through it.

I was very, very, lucky to only have to spend a few days at uni each week. My lectures were on 3 consistent days so I managed to spend the rest of my time at home as I only live an hours train ride away. I honestly don't think I would've managed to cope until (even) Christmas at uni if I didn't get to go home every few days. You know I was saying about that solution that made me start to enjoy uni more? Well that was it - spending 3 days away at uni and the rest of the time at home. I know most people aren't lucky enough to be able to do that. And some people may think it's caused more damage than good - I mean how will I adjust when I can't go home all the time next year - right? Well I'll just cross that bridge when I come to it. And I do still have my worries for next year, but I'm sure living with all the people I want to live with, will help greatly. My main advice is to just appreciate the time you do get to spend with your family and friends when you visit home - that's the best thing you can do.

I hope some of these things help you if you are struggling with homesickness. I am always around to talk to, as someone who can understand how you're feeling and what you're going through. But remember your friends, family and uni are there to talk to as well. Everyone just wants to support and help you through your time at University, and try to make it enjoyable for you.

Googling homesickness brings up so many results, and I hugely recommend reading up on how other people have dealt with home sickness, some ideas may work for you and some may not but it's definitely worth it, and if anything it helped me feel less alone whilst I was experiencing it.

If you ever want to chat check out my Contact page or my main social media links are:

Twitter: @Alicestephens_
Facebook: MiniStephens
Email: alicemstephens97@gmail.com

"Do something today that your future self will thank you for"

Until next time,

Alice x

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Question & Answer with Project Castaway

MeMe and my friend Meg from Project Castaway wanted to do a bit of a collaboration (of sorts anyway), so we came up with the idea to do question and answers with each other. I previously did a Q and A with Vengeance writer Roger A. Price and I thought continuing the theme would be a cool idea and Meg wanted to start doing more Q and A's on her blog as well so it was a good way for her to introduce it! We both hope you'll learn a little bit more about us through these mini question and answer's!

Q: So Meg, what is your blog about? 

A: I blog mainly about reviews on TV shows, films and musicals/plays. I blog my adventures that I have been on and now and again I blog about something I'm feeling at the time whether that'll be advice, food or a topic of interest. 

Q: Why do you enjoy blogging?

A: I enjoy it because I find that it is a great way for me to express myself and to say my opinions. It also helps me to relax at the end of the day.

Q: Why did you decided to call your blog Project Castaway?

A: It's not a very interesting story but at first I saw some blog names that had project in it and as my blog is a project for me I wanted to use that in the name. Then I was looking around in my bed room and found my game called Sim Castaway and came up with Project Castaway. Not very inventive I know, but I like it. 

Q: What type of blog post do you enjoy writing the most? 

A: I mainly like writing reviews on things and my adventures the most. I think that's why I do them more than other posts. I find it really interesting to look back on what I have put. 

Q: What have you got lined up for the future of your blog?

A: I'm wanting to start collaborating with people more. So I think that'll be the next step for my blog really.

Q: Is there any genre of blog posts you'd like to try out? 

A: I would love to try out more food posts as I haven't done much and I want to see what I can do with it. 

Q: When did your start your blog?

A: I start on the 3rd January 2015. So this is my 3rd year of blogging. 

Q: What do you find the most challenging about blogging? 

A: How to word things, sometimes it's tricky because you want to come across a certain way but you're not quite sure how to do that.

Q: What's one thing you wished you'd known before you started blogging? 

A: How to advertise my blog properly. I'm still learning how to do that really. I think it's a great way of connecting with other bloggers and it's such a tricky thing that I don't think has been explained properly. 

Q: Have you been to any blogging events? If not would you like to go to one?

A: I haven't, but I would love to go to one. I just can't seem to find any local ones.

I hope you've enjoyed this blog post as much as me and Meg enjoyed creating them. If you want to read my answers to Meg's questions then click here

If you'd like to check out mine and Meg's joint YouTube channel click here.

"Blogging is not rocket science, it's about being yourself and putting what you have into it"

Until next time,

Alice x 
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