How to Handle Homesickness When You Go to College

Heading off to college is a time of mixed emotions. You’re likely to be excited about starting this next chapter of your life, but you’ll also miss the family and friends you’re leaving behind. This often leads to homesickness — and it can hit you unexpectedly. Luckily, there are several things you can do to cope.

1. Recognize That You’re Feeling Homesick

The first step is to recognize that what you’re experiencing is homesickness. It may manifest itself as grief or feelings of loss — after all, you’ve lost your sense of belonging, familiar places and people, and the comfort that comes from having a regular routine. Although you may not realize it, you’ll be craving stability, predictability, and consistency. For this reason, homesickness may strike particularly hard at certain times of the day, such as when you’re usually engaged in a particular activity.

The good news is that homesickness is not a clinical diagnosis. It tends to be short lived — and it’s within your power to overcome it.

2. Start New Rituals

To regain a sense of security and regularity, it helps to begin establishing new routines. You can do these routines alone or with friends, but they should start almost as soon as you wake up and end right before you go to bed. If there are certain times of the year when you find that homesickness returns (such as around a particular holiday), create new traditions or share ones from home with your roommates.

3. Prepare Your Favourite Meals

It’s comforting to eat meals like those you often have with your family. Ask your parents for recipes and learn to prepare these dishes yourself. Cooking will be a useful skill to have all your life, as you’ll be able to whip up your favourite foods whenever you’re feeling low.

4. Explore Your Surroundings

Making your new home familiar will also help reduce homesickness. Learn where to find various places on campus and search for interesting spots around your college town, such as parks, coffee shops, and hiking trails.

5. Chat with Friends and Family

Arrange to have regular calls with friends from your hometown and family members. Friends who are attending other universities will also be feeling homesick, meaning they’ll benefit from a chat just as much as you.

6. Make New Friends

Try to resist the urge to rely heavily on people back home, though — it’s also important to start making new friends. Attend events, join clubs, and volunteer to expand your social circle and meet people with similar interests.

7. Talk About Your Feelings

Since your friends are likely going through the same, don’t be afraid to talk about your homesickness. You may also have siblings who have already been through the experience who can give you advice about what worked for them.

8. Reach Out for Support

If homesickness causes your anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues to worsen, reach out for support from a professional. Your college likely has counselling services available to students.

You’ll suffer less from homesickness if you find an apartment that you love. Most people find it uncomfortable living on campus due to the limited privacy and cramped space, but having your own room in student housing can lead to a great college experience. An alternative to Niagara College residence is Foundry Lofts. You’ll be able to meet and hang out with other students in places like the games room, movie theatre, and fireside lounge or you can relax on your own in your spacious bedroom and living room. Contact us to join the waitlist.


10 On-Campus Resources to Be Aware Of

Your classes are just one educational resource you’ll receive at university. To improve your understanding of material, enhance your academic skills, and prepare for your graduation, there are a number of other resources on campus that you should be taking advantage of.

1. Tutoring

Never feel that you must struggle with a difficult class alone. If you need extra support to understand the material or apply the skills you’re learning, a tutor could be just what you need. Ask about tutoring services on campus to find the most cost-effective options. You may even be able to choose between one-on-one tutoring and group sessions.

2. Careers Support

It’s worth thinking about what you want to do after you finish university a while before your graduation date approaches. Head to the careers centre on campus to discuss your options. You can also use the services to search for openings, fine tune your resume, and ace interviews — for jobs or internships now and after you graduate.

3. Writing Centre

Most universities offer academic services to help students with their writing skills. You can find support for writing all kinds of papers, starting with creating an outline and ending with proofreading your work before you submit it. Students who are nearing the end of their degrees tend to find the writing centre particularly useful for preparing their thesis or research project, as it can be difficult to know where to begin, how to structure the different sections, and how to fit everything together.

4. Academic Advisors

Whenever you have a question about your education, turn to the academic advisory team. Advisors can help you with things like creating an appropriate class schedule, dropping a class, switching majors, and meeting your academic goals.

5. Office Hours with Professors

Your professors are another top source for academic advice. They can help you with doubts and questions related to a specific class — all you need to do is pay them a visit during office hours. Plus, office hours are a great way to connect to your professors on a deeper level, which could be useful if you’re looking to pursue research in a similar field or you just want to start building your professional network.

6. Financial Aid Office

It’s possible that your financial situation will change during your time at university. Besides, it’s always worth seeing if you qualify for new scholarships and grants to save money. Visit the financial aid office if you ever want information about what support you qualify for or to manage your current loans.

7. Library

Even though you can gain a vast amount of information online, your campus library can be important during your time at university. It’s somewhere you can focus on your studies in peace, collaborate on a group project, or ask librarians to help you locate the information you need to complete a paper.

8. Sport Facilities

If you’re not an athlete yourself, you may have neglected the sports facilities on campus. This means you could be missing out on the opportunity to use the gym or attend fitness classes to get in shape, stay healthy, and reduce stress.

9. Mental Health Services

Many universities offer counselling services at low prices to help students manage their mental health, cope with negative emotions, and deal with anxieties. You’ll likely also have access to hotlines you can call if you want confidential support or need to talk to someone during a crisis.

10. IT Department

If you’re unsure about how to perform a particular IT task or your computer suffers a crash, reach out to the IT department. Someone will likely be able to help you over the phone to resolve the issue.

Another way to receive great resources that enhance the student experience is to live in student housing. For Brock University off-campus housing, there’s no better option than Foundry Lofts. In addition to your private bedroom in a suite, you’ll have access to onsite amenities like a study zone and fitness centre. Join the waitlist to be the first to hear when a space opens up.