Join Ben, Becki and Martyna as they discuss how to handle homesickness whilst at university.
Whether you miss your mum or you're struggling to cook your favourite meals, our student hosts are here to offer first hand advice, tips and tricks to help you settle into university.
Change can be a little daunting but hopefully by using some of these tips you can better cope with some of the challenges you may face when living at university.
Check out the Student Life blog for more advice on lots of different topics related to being a university student.
Hello. Welcome to the very first episode of Fresher take. My name's Ben
And I'm Martyna
and today's episode we'll be talking about homesickness.
So for a lot of people moving to uni, this will be their first time living away from home. Some come from completely different countries, and they will have moved to the UK just to study. Homesickness is completely normal and affects everyone in totally different ways. Some people can feel anxious and others will feel very low in mood.
Yeah, that's true. How did you guys find yourself when you first came to uni? How did you feel
when I first came to uni I was really excited to go, actually, because I was just excited to leave home. So I'm sort of the complete opposite. But I know a lot of people that have had that homesickness and feel like, you know, they need , they just miss home and they want sort of that reassurance of that it is completely normal like you said Becky, and I think that if you're able to sort of find away early doors to sort of figure out okay, this is normal, you know, I'm not alone about this. I think that makes the whole first few weeks of uni a lot easier.
Yeah, I had a friend who would often go back home and just visit her mum. So I think like one of the ways you can cope with homesickness is definitely if you can maybe travel back home or actually talk to your parents or your family. Like often, if you feel low, just, you know, get face time on, call them. It's fine to do that.
Yeah, I think understanding that it is okay to sort of connect with home is the best way to do it. From my own personal experience, I think he's having that conversation going oh, are you all right? You know, having that chat with them and as if it's completely normal, I think is a good way of understanding that it's not that far away, you know, in a completely different you know you may be, but you're not in a complete different world to them, you know you're not on Mars
yeah you don't have to feel like you have suddenly moved to uni and you need to be all independent so you can't talk to anyone.
Yeah, that's it. You're in this little bubble and that is it. You must stay for three years. That's not the case at all. I think sort of that is a good way of coping. What do you think, Becky? Have you got any ways that you would?
I think for me, mine didn't really hit until after we'd come back for Christmas because I had had, like, a month at home. It was like I was basically back living there again so for me when I came back in January, that's when everything really hit me. And I said, I feel like Oh, gosh, I miss the cooking. I miss having to not really do anything ermm I miss like being able to just leave my stuff in the sink and not worry about what other people in my flat are going to say. So I think for me, yeah, that was January is when it really hit me and that was the same sort of just making sure I touch base with my mom regularly, even if it was just messaging. So I felt like I was still connected to people back home and everything like that, because for me is quite expensive to get back and yeah, and I didn't really want to waste money on that.
yeah you sort of I think in your situation, you have to find ways to touch base and connect with home instead of spending however much money to get a train back because as students you've not got a lot of money. So, you know, like a £90 train ticket is gonna be sort of a no go
So erm Becki, when you came back what sort of things did you to to cope with homesickness?
So erm I made my mum send me back with recipes so I could cook food that she would cook at home. So you know your classics like shepherd's pies and your lasagnas and stuff like that. But also I'm like Caribbean in Indian. So we have, Yeah, we've got, like, food like that that I wanted to learn how to cook and everything like that. So my mom sent me back with like a list of recipes and like, detailed steps because I honestly could burn toast , i'm a pretty bad cook so yeah
giving yourself something to focus, focus yourself as well and also teach you how to cook with the best of both worlds.
It's like a practical task that you can do that can keep you busy and keep your mind off of being away from home. There's also a really good thing, skill to have and to be able to cook food that you like and stuff like that. I think it's just those little sort of home comforts that you can do to really make yourself feel better whilst you're away.
Yeah, I think, like finding that time Just an hour or so to just relax. Go into the kitchen. You know, prepare your food, cook something. And not to be like uni all the time to find the time to actually make proper food and not just have ready meals on and Something from your home of course.
Yeah. So is the best of both of you taking your mind off the fact that you feel, you know, stressed or low in mood, But you're also sort of reinforcing the facts of ah You know, this is this is something that reminds me of home. So sort of your combatting it in two ways by forgetting about it, but also sort of thinking about it as well. It sort of
went is a weird mix of things. Yeah,
Yeah. I'm not thinking about what I am because I'm cooking it. Yeah, I think it is a natural way of sort of directing your thoughts of home into, like, a good way instead ah I'm missing it. You think you know this is bringing a little bit of home to uni. And I think bringing sort home comforts like you mentioned Martyna is a good way of doing it as well. Sort of the little things that remind you of home.
Yes, my room is just full of things like that. It's just pictures of my family. I think that's one of the best ways, um, pictures or making your flat bit more homely, bit more warm, comfortable, you know, fairy lights.
Yes, maybe not for me, but for you guys maybe.
I've got, like, frames like of my favourite band. Like ive like a signed CD.
Well they actually in Lincoln here they do like, in freshers week and they have the poster sales
Yeah, yes, they'll have that pretty much everywhere. They have a house plant sale as well. That got poster sales. They do a little tight. Industries was like the big, big, toughest day.
So do you think bringing home comforts It is a good way of sort of getting rid of the homesickness or do you think it could sort of go the opposite way and sort of be like, I'm thinking too much of home.
well definitely, I think find other things as well, too. I think it like a routine in into your life. If I think for me that worked. Definitely. Like waking up. Oh, I go to the gym in the morning, for example. I do. Actually. We had talked about This.
Is there two six o'clocks in one day? I didn't I didn't know that. Apparently,
um whatever. Whatever. You can wake up at 10 and go to the gym.
Sounds more reasonable. But I think having a routine like you were saying, this is a really good idea.
Yeah, definitely. It really, really helped me. I think the gym is a really good way to distract your thoughts and motivate yourself to do this and it, like, boost your energy levels and like, makes you more happy in a way and more positive
it gets you out the house as well
yeah, 100%. So you're not still in that same environment. A lot of people have the tendency to wallow in that one in the environment and, I think it's good to get a change of scenery. That's why things like clubs and societies and I mean, we have a lot of them here. But I know yeah, most universities There's a lot of clubs and societies to join. There's usually something for everyone, so you don't go every week or to every practise or anything like that. It's good to get out, to meet these new people, to find, like, different perspectives. And yeah, I think that's something just
especially especially meeting new people. Well, like you're so forcing yourself to meet new people and you get into a different like you said, It's complete different mindset to what you would, because I know from personal experience that my friends at home, my friends at Uni are two completely different sort of people.
I think I found that you as well when you when you're in high school, you're kind of stuck with the same year group throughout your years. Then when you come to uni, you have your friends from your course from your flat mates any clubs you go to society's so and it's perfectly okay to kind of be friends and talk to your flat mates and then go out somewhere with other friends. Yeah, you won't. I don't think you will offend anyone.
Yeah, I think it's that idea of, like you said at high school, sort of you have your one group of friends and that's sort of it. Sort of it, really? Where as at uni like you can literally meet. There's so many different people, especially the I've met like so from completely from backgrounds, ethnicities, you know, courses, countries, years. Everything is It's like And that definitely opened my eyes to sort of Oh, you know, it's not. Not only it's not just me, that's, you know, missing home a little bit. Also, you know, there's different people that make you think different ways, and I think by doing that you're forcing yourself to think away from home. You're naturally she's not from he she is not from here. Oh, you know completely from mindset, complete, different way thinking. I think that as well sort of It's also tied into your sort, forcing yourself subconsciously not to think about the thing you're sad about. It does sound really cliche and really simple. But I think just having a friend group to talk to and sort of having just people around you that can distract you from it or anything that could distract from it is sort of the key to this sort of homesickness and sort of understanding and dealing with it.
yeah definitely if you, if you feel low, then always is good to have his friends to fall back on to. And know that they're there for you that you can always chat to them and you don't have to chat to them about what's happening to you. If you don't feel like it, you can. As long as you go out and, you know, just socialise with them, go for a coffee or something like that.
So, like going back to sort of people that you can talk to, I think is really important to be able to talk to people and sort of find your support network almost. I think getting support that way through talking to people is one of the best ways you can do it. You know it might be good to talk to a friend or a family or whoever your support network is. And I think being able to find that is really important. And, you know, sometimes it is the best thing to do to unravel your thoughts and sort of rant to people so they can act as your sort of emotional sponge in quotations. Because then your it's almost like when people say oh write it down and, you know, throw it in, throw it in the bin or something because you're physically getting rid of your thoughts. I think talking to people and getting people to sort of see your point of view is a good way of getting getting the your frustrations out. What? What do you guys think about that?
I think it's also good to say that, yes, lean on your friends and family and people around you if you can. But there are also sort of more official more roots to go down like we have the wellbeing centre here where you can go. You can talk about your problems if you're feeling a bit low or if homesickness is affecting you in any way, so that is more. That's a route where you could talk to some professional. So maybe understand what you're going through. If you're not comfortable unloading on to your friends and stuff like that, I think you
You've also got the GP as well. That's in the student wellbeing centre as well and Again, medical professionals. They'll be able to help you if you don't feel like you can talk to your friends of you guys obviously we have all experiences have sadness. I assume some point. Do you sort of do you sort of use your friends a lot to sort of talk to. And, you know, your family sort of rant to.
my mom, my mom, whenever I'm just something happened. I'm walking back from uni like mum help me
I think I think we've all gone through that route. What's going on? Help, please. And I think, knowing that you've, I think, knowing that you've got that fall back of someone you can talk to almost gives you sort of a shoulder to cry on metaphorically, because you know there's someone there that you can go 'this is annoying me or this person's annoying me or this thing's annoying me' and you know there's someone there that will go. OK, let's talk about it.
Yeah, yeah, You don't even have to talk about, you know, as Long as you talk to someone, I think Communication and having a network of people it's so important to you to not Isolate yourself. I think that's very easy to do when you're homesick to just be stuck in the Four Walls.
It's important to note as well that obviously, when you're talking to the GP and stuff, you know you don't have to feel that homesick is a big deal or anything, and you can't speak to anyone about it. You know, it's not something that is, you know, As the name implies, home sickness is not a sickness. It's not an illness. It's just a little. It's a feeling more than anything, I think it's important to know that because you're going to talk to someone, it doesn't mean that you are necessarily in a bad state of mind or anything. It could just be on feeling a bit low and I need someone to talk to. I think that's important to know, because for me, especially I know that when I go to someone and say something's wrong, you instantly think Is there something wrong with me? Am I the problem? But it's not necessarily that. It could just be on friend a little bit down. I'm missing home. I'm missing X Y and Z things.
Yeah, they definitely probably will give you coping mechanisms for example. I mean, we talked about some of them, but they were definitely maybe give you something similar or something different. So it's always good to get that professional point of view to
Yeah, I I think that as well as having that support network, it's about recognising homesickness in others and sort of being that person that they can sort of go to help
in that sense, that how would you recognise homesickness in yourself or in a friend?
well, personally, I think it is just the classic. If they're low in mood, if you know they're very irritable. If you know, for example, if you leave a pot in the sink and they snap at you when they wouldn't normally do so you know, this sort of definitely something wrong there. And I think just in general if if there were a lot snappier, if there are a lot angry, or maybe they spend more time in their room or spend more time at home or alone, I think that's a good ways to recognise. Or maybe something's wrong in that conversation needs to begin about, sort of, you know what it's simples as, just sort of what's up? All right, come play some games of go out for a drink, some coffee. I think that is the initial step, I think. But there's there's so many other ways that you can recognising other people like everyone is so different. Like I can imagine. We've all got three different perspectives on someone who feels sad or how we all deal with sadness. I think it is difficult to recognise, but I think it's just the standard if they're feeling low or if the different in the personality.
I think that's what I think it is about knowing your friends, knowing yourself on picking up on those changes, asking if they're OK on a regular basis just to make sure that everyone's doing all right and everything is fine and especially if you do notice that they may be changed a bit. Just asking, asking, You know, you're right. You okay? Is everything like don't badger them. Of course because that can make people feel a bit worse, but it's just in a casual way making sure that your friends are okay and making sure that you and yourself can Recognise and notice a change in your own personality and Get some help if you do need it.
No. Go. No, Go on. Of course.
I was gonna say, What do you guys think about people who might be shy to talk and they just sit in the room and maybe they're flatmates. They don't really communicate with each other because that happens a lot. They don't get along and they might not notice anything. You know, they mind their own business um So what about someone who's just kind of, you know, by themselves? The shy to talk? How can you cope?
That's a great question. I would say social media is a fantastic tool to sort of help with sort of things like this. You know, you don't necessarily have to go to them in person and go. Hi. You're right. What can I do? anything blah, blah, blah, I think even just touching base with them on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or whatever and just seeing, especially if, you know, they may be quite shy. But they have friends outside of their flat, for example. I think noticing that are maybe they've not have not come to the society as much have not come to practise as much. Or are there a lot quieter than they normally are within sort of hobby that they like still whatever. So I think being able to recognise not only in yourself are you okay, but also why they not turning up? Why are they, you know, a little bit quiet and I think touching base with them on Facebook or something. That is just as good because, you know, if they are quite shy, they might not like that. That face to face yeah
can feel in that sort of way, especially if you don't really, if you're a bit shy but really like speaking to people about deeper issues that can feel quite like a bit of a confrontational thing,
for sure, But I think it's important to say that when you're feeling low just to let yourself feel low? Oh, Really. Just accept that. Like if you're having a bad day or if you're missing home just, you know, maybe just sit in your room and kind of get your mug of tea or something like that and cuddle up with your blankets and just feel low like it will go away The same as like feeling happy it will last only a certain period of time and then, you know, same with feeling sad. It won't last forever. That's important to remember in two hours it might go away, you know?
Yeah, everyone has these periods. And I think that's what what we really is that everyone has these periods. Everyone feels a bit low sometimes, just as everyone feels happy and it is important to go through these periods just to be well rounded. Really? Yeah.
So if this podcast, um, has made you think about things and ways that you want, that you can cope with homesickness, we also have an activity for you. Um, for me personally writing things down, it's a very beneficial to organise my emotions and how I feel. So it is called. You can do this on your paper, on the paper on your phone and whatever you have in handy. So it's called the four p's it which means project purpose, particulars and people. So I would like you to write these things down as these headings. So number one is project and That is it means what the change is, what has happened, what the change in your life is. So, for example, this is moving to university. Um, the second heading will be purpose. So the reasons for coming to university, for example, you be developing new skills. It's a new step towards your career. The third step Ah, and you're heading will be particulars. So that is Ah specifically, for example, what is changing in in your life. So you've begun into halls, you're having a new group of friends, a new city, a new environment, and in the last heading will be people and that is people who you can go and chat to for support. Maybe your friends and maybe your family, maybe your GP and once you have finished his activity and broken down, all the challenges that you'll be facing when you moving to university and making that new step. Um, you're basically write down your support networks that you can go to and when you're feeling low.
Fantastic activity. I think that will, Like you said, physically put out everything you need to do everything you need to know in one sort of concise on DH, very easily accessible place, I think is very good and that wraps up this episode off fresher take. Before you go, I have a quote not from a psychologist, not from an author, but from Winnie the Pooh he has said, How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. And I think that is a perfect quote from the man himself. talking about how, you know, you got to appreciate how important things are to be able to make saying goodbye so hard. But thank you for listening to this episode of fresher take we hope you have enjoyed. We'll be back next month with another episode, so make sure you follow us so you don't miss it. But until then, thanks for watching. I've been Ben,
we will see you next time