Homesickness is the what I have struggled with most since moving to university. It is something that I battle daily and is not something I’m ashamed of and that’s why I feel like sharing my experience and how I cope with it. I’ve moved 80 miles away from my very small hometown of Salisbury to Oxford.
I’ve moved 80 miles away from my very small hometown of Salisbury to Oxford and just before I moved down I got a job at the biggest bookshop in the UK (which goes hand and hand with my degree). This makes it difficult for me to go home more regularly than some of the other people do, purely because I don’t have time during the week and working weekends also fills up my time. It does mean that I am constantly busy so I don’t constantly think about how much I miss my family but on the other hand, it does mean that I have less time for myself and for the opportunity to go home and relax. It is also a lot harder, as I will have to book time off to see them, rather than feeling low and spontaneously coming home.
It was hard when my family and boyfriend left me in a new city, new flat and not knowing anyone, just simply having to find myself and try to fit in. I missed them obviously, but I had other things on my mind like trying to meet the people I would be spending the rest of the year with.
I occasionally skyped my family and I loved seeing them, hearing about how well my younger sister was doing in her second year of secondary school. I printed out photos of my favourite memories from the past couple of years – mainly year 11, 12 and 13 – and stuck them with blue tack on the back of my ensuite facing my bed. I have photos of all the people that mean the most in my life and have helped me grow into the person that I was before I left for my new life at university.
The last Friday of the October half term, my family came to visit me and to anyone else, the day would be described as mundane and boring but to me, it wasn’t. I was incredibly happy that after about 5/6 weeks of being on my own, I was being reunited with the people I loved the most. I was over the moon that mum took me shopping and I wouldn’t be overcome by a crippling form of anxiety that has resorted me to ordering my shopping online.
When they left and my boyfriend stayed, I automatically crumpled and realised how much I missed them. I cried solidly for a good part of the night and whilst my partner did very well to console me, it didn’t comfort me as much as I wanted to.
As a result of how upset and emotional I was the night before, I had got my shift times at work wrong and turned up over an hour early on the basis that I thought I was finishing two hours earlier than I actually would be. I was so emotionally drained and felt incredibly low, that it just made me look rather unwell. I and my duty manager did not feel as if I was up to starting my shift and sent me home. That day off was much needed, I rested and recuperated. I was ready to go back to work on Sunday.
I’ve dealt with the homesickness differently with my family and my boyfriend.
I’ve skyped my family almost every night and if I have news about exam dates or essay feedback then I phone during the day to discuss things that I don’t want to talk over Skype. I’ve also written letters to my sister and mum to keep them close and connected to me, plus I love receiving post.
It’s been easier with my boyfriend because I talk to him daily and we FaceTime at least once a day before I go to sleep. He’s been able to get the train to see me a numerous of occasions, which I am eternally grateful . He continually supports me when I feel like I have nothing left to give.