Away from home for the first time? How to cure homesickness at college

Jan. 24, 2023

Are you a first-year student living on your own for the first time? Just returned to your residence dorm after a great visit with family? No matter what stage you’re at in your Georgian journey, you might have experienced feelings of loneliness, sadness, and missing home.

Homesickness is something that can affect anyone. It can feel like a lost sense of belonging and connection, or a classic case of FOMO (fear of missing out) on what’s going on back home. Moving away from home for college is a big life transition, whether you’re a short drive away or oceans apart from your family. We understand it can be uncomfortable and scary coming to a new place.

The good news is that homesickness is temporary and can be managed. Think of Georgian as your home away from home and while you’re here, try to make the most of your experience. Trust us, it goes by fast!

To ease symptoms of homesickness, we’ve put together a list of things to try –no medicine needed!

1. Remember – you aren’t alone

Odds are if you’re feeling homesick, there are others going through the same thing. It’s important to acknowledge that you miss home and know that your feelings are valid. As humans it’s normal to be drawn to what’s familiar, but in time you will find new routines, activities and people that bring you comfort!

While you’re trying to overcome homesickness, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be social 24/7. A little alone time and investing in some self-care can go a long way when you’re feeling down. 

2. Set a routine and stick to it

Start off with your class schedule as a base and slowly add in daily activities. Sticking to a routine can help you get motivated and gives you something to look forward to every day, even if it’s small. Maybe start your day with making your bed and listening to a podcast while you eat breakfast. Whatever it is, do things that bring you joy!

To help create a daily schedule, search for a free app to use on your phone or download a digital Georgian planner.

3. Get involved and make some new friends

There are so many ways to meet people and make friends at Georgian and keep you busy. Consider joining a club, trying out for a varsity or intramural sports team, or taking part in campus events.

If you’re an international student, try making friends with people who have lived in Canada and the areas around your campus too. They would be happy to show you around! You can also check out the Segal International Centre for help settling in to campus life and other fun events.

4. Get out and explore your surroundings, on and off campus

Georgian isn’t known as a four-season playground for nothing! There are plenty of activities that are a short walk or drive from campus, including touring breweries and hiking through breathtaking landscapes. Check out the top things to do around every Georgian campus.

Once your classes are done for the day, search for some new go-to spots. You might find a new study nook or a place to chat with friends. Don’t limit yourself to what’s on campus – explore the surrounding area for a new café to hang out in, or a restaurant with dishes that remind you of home. The possibilities are endless!

5. Decorate your dorm or apartment

You don’t need to be studying interior design to learn how to decorate your dorm room like a pro! Adding some personal touches to your room with things that remind you of home can help relieve your homesickness. Put up some posters, pictures of friends, family and pets, and other decorations to make your space homey. Even your favourite stuffed animal or a warm blanket can make a big difference.

6. Reach out to others for support

Done all of the above and still can’t shake your homesickness? Talk to someone. Whether it’s a friend or family member, a professor, or another Georgian team member, there’s always someone there to listen. Many are just a phone call, text or email away.

You can also turn to Georgian’s student success staff – your biggest support system while at college. They can help connect you with various student services including mental health and well-being, counselling and more. If you’re looking for mental health resources or need someone to talk to, reach out to the student success team.

If there’s one thing to take away, know that you’re in control of your experience at Georgian. You’ve got this!

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