Overcoming Homesickness at University

For many students, their first time living away from home is when they move out for
university. It was for me when I moved from Cork to Galway to study Arts. Leaving home on
that cold morning in September was very hard. I cried all the way to the county bounds! I was
riddled with nerves and certain that I would be homesick.
Moving out from home in today’s housing crisis is very much a privilege. However, despite it
being a fantastic opportunity to grow as a person and become more independent, it can also
be fairly terrifying.
Looking back on those first few weeks of college, I think I worked very hard to not miss
home. Here are some tips that I would give to any student away from home for the first time.
Because although Saoirse Ronan may have glamorised homesickness for us all in Brooklyn,
it’s hard to feel like you are an Oscar-nominated actress when all you want is your own bed.

Stay on campus during the day

Staying on campus is a great way to deny to yourself that you are missing home. When
you are keeping yourself busy on campus, going to classes, taking part in clubs and
societies or volunteering, you are not constantly being reminded of how different your
home is to where you are now. I highly doubt that anyone’s house is like the Concourse
building. If it is, then I am deeply sorry for you because if my house was as busy as the
Concourse corridors, I would never leave my bedroom. When I made the effort to stay on
campus in the library, lecture halls or even the communal areas like the Sibín and the
Hub, I never longed for my life in Cork, because nothing in those areas was anything like
what I have at home.
In the beginning, I found staying on campus during the day quite overwhelming. You can
be surrounded by people in these communal spaces but never feel more alone. Walking
into a room where you know absolutely no one and sitting down alone to charge your
laptop and have a little snack can feel like such a hard task when it is only your second
day of university. But putting yourself in these uncomfortable situations, taking these
little steps outside of your comfort zone everyday will only benefit you. You will become
more confident spending time alone and spending time with other people.

Decorate your room

With the accommodation crisis every student who is living away from home has a
completely different experience with housing. But I would highly recommend whether
you are in student accommodation, digs or staying with family or friends that you create
a space that is comfortable and calm for you.
When you come back home from college for the day, you want to feel like you can
completely relax. Calm colours, photos of family and maybe a cute cactus will be sure to
make you feel at ease and not wish for your own four walls back home.

Ring home – but different people

Ringing home when homesick is a tricky one. For some it helps, for some it creates more
problems than solves. From my experience of missing home, I would recommend calling
different people each time. Having a little rotation of contacts can help you feel not so
much of a stranger when you visit the hometown, and it can also keep phone calls as
something to look forward to.
I don’t go home to Cork every weekend, every three weeks at best. During those three
weeks I always Facetime my friends and call all my family members. This way when I
come back home 1) I tend to know all if not more of the local news than my Granny and
2) I can focus on just being with my family and friends, and not missing them before I
have to leave again.

Look after your mental health

The number of worries and nerves that simply disappear once I have had 8 hours of
sleep, eaten well, drank water and exercised is outstanding. These four elements are often
hard do every day, but getting a solid ¾ into your routine is, in my opinion, an
accomplishment. Doing a few of these core four every day is by no means going to cure
anyone of homesickness. But it will ensure you are in your best mental state to tackle this
new challenge, and that will stand to you. Exercising is always the one I struggle with out of these four. I will oftentimes walk to college and back and just call it a day with movement from there. But an easy way I found to commit to exercising was to do it with other people. I signed up to the
DanceSoc and the Cumann Rince Seite Societies which helped me to make new friends
at university and to improve my wellbeing.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

One thing I will always advise is that you seek help if you think that you are struggling
with your mental health. Contact for the University of Galway’s counselling services are
included below:
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 091492484

I hope that these four tips will benefit incoming students. Moving away from home is
scary and exciting and nerve-wracking all at the same time. But with a bit of preparation,
hard work, and a lot of get up and go, you can make it a life changing experience that
helps you to become a stronger and more independent person.
The best thing that I can recommend is to get involved in communities and groups that
excite you. Being a volunteer with Flirt FM, taking up roles on society committees and
making an effort to get out of my comfort zone from time to time has helped me more
than anything else. There is always going to be a way to beat the homesickness, you just
have to find the get up and go to beat it.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Contact the Studio


    College Campus Radio DAC © 2024.