For most of you, this will probably be the first time you’ve ever been away from home. Nobody to nag you, ask where you’re going or wait up for you... It also means that there’s nobody to tidy up after you, cook for you or nurse you when you’re sick. It’s completely natural if you feel a little homesick in your first year while you’re getting used to your newfound freedom. This may strike as soon as you’re dropped off on campus or occur a few weeks into the semester.
So what do you do if you’re starting to miss home? Mum’s cooking, your family pets and your cosy own bed? Here are some simple steps you can take to help you settle in:
Bring some home comforts with you – maybe your favourite pillows, a blanket or some photographs. Make it YOUR room! Just remember, use white tac for any posters or photos so as not to mark your new walls!
Talk about it – everybody is in the same boat, so speak to a new friend if you’re finding it difficult. Chances are they will be too! Even being around new friends might make you feel a bit better. The lovely people in the Advice Hub can also help you through your homesickness, as can the University’s free and confidential counselling service.
Phone home – don’t pretend they’re not there! Schedule a little free time each week to Facetime/Skype/phone home and keep them up to date with all your news. Every room in halls has a telephone and a direct number where people can ring you (it’ll cost you to ring them). Sometimes a chat with home is all you need.
Take up a hobby – do something that gets you out of your room every now and then and introduces you to new people from different years and courses. We have a load of societies at the Union; from Pole Dancing to Gaming and Baking to Enterprise, there’s something for everyone. If sports are more your thing, our Sports Union has a wide selection of clubs and teams that cater for all skill levels. Our Edinburgh campus is home to Oriam, Scotland’s national performance centre for sport. There’s never been a better time to become a gym bunny!
Visit home – but don’t overdo it. Going home is great and gives you a chance to take any laundry home with you(!), but if you head home every week, you might start to feel disconnected from what’s happening in halls and miss out on all the fun.
If you get ill – your new friends are lovely, but they won’t want to look after you 24/7 when you’re unwell. Preparation is key! Stock up on things like Cup a Soup, Berocca and paracetamol. If it’s more than just the flu or a cold and you do need some medical help, don’t hold off on visiting the GP. The Edinburgh campus has a Medical Centre which you can sign up to during your enrolment, so there really is no excuse for not dragging yourself down there! In SBC, your local GP is in Galashiels, so again, not far at all.
So prepare for a little homesickness but don’t worry, in the end, you’ll be embracing your freedom and the independence that living away from home brings. And who knows! You might end up having such a good time you don’t think about home too much at all.