What to Do When You’re Homesick at University

Almost all students feel homesick when they go away to university. It’s logical — you’re suddenly away from everyone you know in a new city with a new life. It’s even common to feel homesick again when you return to university after going home for the holidays. The good news is these feelings tend to subside with the following coping strategies.

Know What to Expect

It’s important to be able to identify that what you’re feeling is homesickness and understand why you’re feeling this way.

Homesickness is a type of grief: you’re mourning that you are unable to be around familiar faces, which creates a sense of loss. In addition to missing tangible things — like people, places, and pets — you likely also miss the sense of belonging and your regular routine. Underlying all this is insecurity due the unknown and unpredictable.

Remember That You’re Not Alone

Since homesickness is so widespread, you can be sure that most of the people you meet are feeling the same way. Plus, you should bear in mind that high school friends who went to different universities are likely feeling homesick. You may be uncomfortable talking about your feelings with people you’ve just met, but you can always check in with these old friends and vent. Many will be glad you did reach out, as it will help them feel less alone, too.

Start Routines and Traditions

Embrace the opportunity to create a new routine that works for you. Start by figuring out what incentivizes you to get up in the morning — perhaps a hot cup of coffee or a gentle stretching sequence. In addition, adapt traditions from home or start new ones. This could be as simple as preparing a particular dish on the same evening every week or scheduling a video call with a loved one at a certain time during the weekend.

Explore the Area

Spend time every day familiarizing yourself with your surroundings. You’ll feel more at home if you’re acquainted with all the buildings on campus. Plus, you can discover some spots to become your go-to places, such as a coffee shop, park, or particular area of the library that has the best seating.

Make Friends

Your homesickness will dissipate sooner if you start building a group of friends. Although the first people you meet may not end up being your closest friends, what matters is that you begin forming connections. Take advantage of all the opportunities you have to meet people, such as events on campus, clubs, and study groups with classmates.

Find Counselling Services

Long-lasting or intense homesickness can increase any anxiety or depression you’re already experiencing. Most universities offer some kind of support to students, such as counselling. If you’re unable to cope on your own, remember that these services are for students just like you — don’t be afraid to ask for help.

You’re less likely to experience homesickness for an extended period of time when you have a home you love. Most people find on-campus housing uncomfortable — not least because you have no privacy — and prefer to live in student apartments. Waterloo students can find a place to call home at MyRez. You’ll have a room in a suite where you can retreat whenever you want to be alone, and there are plenty of options when you want company, including our games room and a fitness and yoga studio. Apply now to be matched with like-minded roommates.

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