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How to handle being homesick

November can be a hard month in St Andrews. Namitha Rajasekhar opens up about how she handles being homesick.

University is exciting–well at least it initially is. The idea of starting afresh was quite invigorating for me; making new friends, having newfound independence, discovering the town’s little quirks and specialities, but most of all logging my metamorphosis into a new person throughout. When thoughts and emotions of leaving my whole life behind crept into my consciousness, I tried to brush them aside and occupy myself with some leftover pre-uni work. I knew I’d be homesick until I’d finally get into the groove of things by the third or fourth week. However, over time, I realised that homesickness does not bore the slightest resemblance to a “sickness”–it isn’t something that stays for a while and disappears once you pop in a couple of pills and rest up. Instead, though it starts to show up less frequently, it lives and breathes in you for a long time. I’ve come to understand in my fourth week of uni that you can feel homesick at the most random moments. For instance, I’ve found myself consciously thinking or talking about my friends and family without feeling sad or missing them. On the other hand, I’ve also teared up at Tesco after looking at Nature Valley’s Oats and Honey flavoured granola bars because it reminded me of how I used to pack for school to satiate my friends’ no-breakfast-cause-submissions hunger. There’s no one way to escape homesickness, but here are a few things that I do when I’ m feeling homesick that always make me feel better.

Source: Pixaby
  1.  IT’S OKAY to feel what you’re feeling–whether you’re from Edinburgh or in my case, India. There is a myriad of thoughts and emotions I go through when I’m homesick. I’ve found myself getting sad about the fact that I feel like my previous life was “taken away” from me and as weird as that sounds, it’s still okay to feel like that. Trust me, trying to desperately avoid it does not make it any better.

  2. Give your friends or family a call: Though this point may seem obvious, I’ve noticed how it can be slightly weird to hit up a friend when you miss them, especially if you weren’t super close to each other. I’ve felt awkward even when texting friends I regularly spoke to at school because I didn’t know what they would think about it. My best advice would be to throw these apprehensions away and make the first move, worst case scenario–they won’t respond. Although the fact that I have no idea when I’ll see them again can be pretty daunting, it’s quite reassuring to know that the people you miss haven’t disappeared–they are only a text/phone call away.

  3. Do chores–as stressful and overwhelming I find adulting to be, when I get really homesick I’ve paid attention to how doing laundry, cleaning my room (sometimes), washing the dishes or going to the grocery store (as long as I manage to skip the granola bar section) can be quite de-stressing and peaceful. You also don’t feel like you’re wasting time since you still are doing work.

  4. Do something familiar: Watch a beloved show, listen to your all-time favourites, read a book you’ve read before and have always wanted to pick up again or do literally anything that reminds you of you and your “old” life. Though it can be exciting to do new things, It’s also nice to feel like everything hasn’t changed and some things are always going to be there for you to cherish your whole life.

    Source: Pixaby
  5. GET OUT OF YOUR ROOM–go out with friends, or alone. When I find myself in need of a change in scenario, I pack my books and head to a cafe or the library. I’ve noticed how refreshing it can be for me to get out as it also gets me excited about how by the end of the year I’ll know every nook and corner in St Andrews and would have made a ton of memories!

Source: Namitha Rajasekhar

In short, it’s really okay to feel homesick and in whatever way you are feeling it. Don’t beat yourself up if you feel like its weird to be homesick in your seventh week of uni. If it gets too hard, don’t be hard to reach out to anyone you feel comfortable with and I can tell you for a fact (although it’s the fourth week) that it does, in fact, get better <3.

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