Waking up in a new city, on your own, in this strange room that you can’t yet call ‘your room’ can feel quite daunting. It’s that moment of realisation - the independence you’ve wanted for so long is finally yours. But this newfound responsibility feels heavy.
Suddenly, what your parents have been talking about all these years makes sense. Do I have enough money to buy cling film? Is it really necessary to wash all these coloured clothes separately? Is this omelette supposed to look like this? AM I DOING THIS RIGHT?
Yep. It’s overwhelming, to say the least.
Here are the things that have helped me during these first few months on my own.
Join different societies, go out, get a part-time job, do your work (maybe). But don’t feel like you have to say yes to absolutely everything. Staying in and doing absolutely nothing is okay too.
There is so much pressure on freshers to be involved in everything. But remember you’re free to pick and mix things that will take your mind off the homesickness and help you settle in to your new home - and to say no when you need and want to.
The moment I wake up is the hardest. When I can’t hear my little brother watching the TV downstairs or my mum getting ready for work, it’s extremely heartbreaking.
So find the time to keep in contact, so that the people you miss can be involved in your new life. I always update my family on my outings, any new friendships and (most commonly) on what I have been cooking!
It can sometimes feel like you’re not allowed to talk about how lonely and homesick you feel. It’s almost as though everyone expects you to be happy all the time. And since moving away is something you chose, it can feel like you shouldn’t complain about it either.
But do complain, express yourself, talk about it. It’s never good to bottle things up. So talk, whether it’s with someone you know has been through it, a professional, or someone you’ve just met.
I opened up to a friend I made during freshers’ week. It turned out they were feeling exactly the same, so now we lunch together once a week!
It’s incredible how, just by being on in the background, music can make your room feel less empty. I find that music keeps me company whenever I’m on my own and feeling a tad lonely. It really does work wonders!
Read more: 45 Easy ways to relax in your room
Missing my friends and family is something I wasn’t prepared for. But being away from them for the first time is bound to be just as sad as it is exciting. I understand now just how vulnerable it can leave you feeling.
Part of the solution here is pictures. Take them with you, or get your favourite shots from your phone printed, and put them up in your room. They’ll remind you that your family and friends back home will always be there for you - no matter how far apart you are.
It’s okay to feel a little bit down, to miss home and sometimes feel like you will never fit in. But you have to remind yourself that you haven’t been here long, and that you’ve got another three to four years to figure it all out. The pace and intensity of uni life makes it easy to forget that.
The homesickness may always be there, but you’ll learn to manage it and you’ll cherish the moments with your family and friends all the more because of it.