Congratulations on beginning your exciting journey at the University of Essex! This chapter of your life is filled with endless possibilities and new experiences. However, it's natural to feel homesick as you adjust to a new environment. Leaving behind familiar faces, places, and routines can be overwhelming. If you find yourself experiencing homesickness, just know that you aren’t alone. Here are my tips for coping with homesickness, so you can enjoy your first few days, weeks, and months at Essex.

1. Acknowledge your feelings

Homesickness is a normal emotional reaction to significant life changes and being away from home. It’s so important to acknowledge and accept these feelings rather than try to ignore them. Process your feelings and remember that it's normal to miss your family, friends, and the comforts of your home. Recognising your feelings will be the first step towards overcoming homesickness.

2. Stay connected with home

Make sure you maintain a connection with your family and friends for comfort and support. Email, text, and video call your loved ones to keep in touch regularly. Don’t forget that social media is also great for keeping up to date with everyone too.

3. Create a supportive social circle

Find your tribe when you arrive at Essex, or even beforehand if you’re organised. Join groups and societies to find people with similar interests to you, socialise with your flatmates, and attend some of the many social events run by the University and the Students’ Union. Don’t forget about Welcome Week and Freshers Fair, where you can learn more about all aspects of uni as well as meeting other new students. A supportive network of friends can make a huge difference in your university experience and create a sense of belonging.

4. Explore the Essex

Familiarise yourself with your campus and the surrounding areas to make you feel more at home. Take long (or short!) walks around campus and beyond and explore local attractions such as Colchester Zoo, the Essex coast, and Colchester city centre. The more you discover about your new environment, the more it will feel like home.

5. Keep busy

Keeping yourself busy with academic studies, extracurricular activities and hobbies can help distract you if you feel homesick. Immerse yourself in your new course, explore interests (new and old), and consider volunteering opportunities. By staying active you'll find that time passes quickly, and feelings of homesickness becomes less intense.

6. Seek university support

The University of Essex offers various resources and services to support students' well-being and mental health . From counselling services to live chat, these resources can be valuable in helping you navigate university life. Always feel free to ask for help if you feel overwhelmed or need someone to talk to.

7. Create a comforting environment

Personalise your room with items that remind you of home. Photos, artwork, or mementos and gifts from loved ones are perfect for creating a home from home. Remember to bring your favourite duvet cover and fairy lights, and a create cosy atmosphere.

8. Practice self-care

Taking care of your physical and mental well-being is crucial at university, especially if you are feeling homesick. Ensure you get enough rest, eat well, and stay physically active. Engage in relaxing and rejuvenating activities, such as meditation, yoga, or reading a good book. Make sure you get fresh air, especially if you have a beautiful campus on your doorstep.

Remember: Feeling homesick is a normal part of the university experience. Adapting to change takes time, and with patience and self-compassion, you can overcome homesickness and thrive at the University of Essex. Embrace the possibilities that come your way, make life-long relationships, and treasure the memories you make during this exciting time. Have fun!