No matter how excited you are to start school in a new place, homesickness always finds a way to creep up on you. It might hit when you’re lying in bed staring at the ceiling unable to sleep or in the middle of a difficult class that’s stressing you out. No matter how bad it seems, remember it’s a phase that everyone goes through and it will pass. But, just in case you want to speed up the process, here’s five ways I learned to beat homesickness.
1. Stay in Touch
This one is probably the most obvious. With Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Viber and the rest of the endless list of communication apps, keeping in touch with home is extremely easy. If you’re feeling down, chatting to your parents, friends, grandma (it will probably be hilarious watching her try to figure out how video calling works), past teachers, bus drivers, your mailman, whoever – it will keep you connected with home and make it feel not so far away. And enjoy it, because as you settle in setting up Skype dates will start feeling like a hassle (trust me).
2. Watch Familiar TV Shows or Movies
I found I’d miss home the most when I was alone in my room with nothing to really focus on. After a long day of class I’m tired and don’t want to do anything, but sitting there alone is dangerous because you can easily get caught up in thinking how much more fun you’d be having with your friends at home. But really, who needs friends when you have streaming websites? So get on the Internet and watch that movie you’ve been meaning to see, or pick a show from back home and make your way through the seasons. It will take your mind off your troubles and you’ll feel a little closer to home.
3. Say Yes to Everything
Getting over homesickness isn’t just about keeping in touch with home, it’s about learning to enjoy your new surroundings. This can be done by adopting the Jim Carrey Yes Man attitude. Before I left, a friend told me not to turn down any opportunity in Europe, and that has been the best advice anyone’s ever given me. Say “yes” to (almost) anything offered, even if it seems only mildly interesting or you have to do it alone. It’s easy to say you’re tired, or have work to do, but those are just lame excuses to stick to your routine of sadness. So go to that party where you only know one person or check out that cool coffee shop you’ve walked by a dozen times. Becoming comfortable in a new place is a lot of trial and error, and you can’t find what you like without trying activities foreign to you.
4. Force Yourself to Get Involved at Your New School
So maybe you’re not exactly a social butterfly or comfortable trying new things by yourself, don’t fret. Every school has student clubs (much like the ones at your high school, but probably 100x better) whose only function is to connect likeminded students. Now it doesn’t get much better than that. So do you want to try a new sport (Quidditch, anyone?) or are you a computer whiz who likes programming? There will be a group of people exactly like you that you can hang out with on campus.
Ever heard of Runner’s High? Not only is exercise good for your body, it’s been proven time and time again to be good for your mind. It drops your stress levels, helps improve your memory and releases a plethora of hormones into your brain that make you feel happy. So no matter how comfy your bed is, remind yourself how good you will feel after even just a 20-minute workout.