You stand there, nervously surveying the scene around you. Hordes of students eagerly swarm from one hastily-assembled trestle table to another, the banners declaring which society resides at which table, gently flutter in the crisp, autumn breeze. You cannnot help but admire the breadth and variety of tastes and hobbies seemingly catered to by the sprawling bazaar of Freshers' Week gazebos. 'Knitting Society', 'Radical Anarchist-Soc', 'Society For Those With A Shared Interest In Knitting And Radical Anarchism'. You are frozen by indecision. You clutch your Judge Judy-themed lunchbox anxiously; you regret bringing your Judge Judy-themed lunchbox.
Suddenly, a man approaches you, garrulous and easy-going. "Hi there," he begins, "Would you like to sign up for the Freshers' Iron Stomach competition? It's starting in twenty minutes. All you've to do is eat a kilogramme of sandwich meat in under 10 minutes and you could win free entry to the Fresher's night tonight! Are you interested!?" You suddenly pine for home; for your family. Your family never demanded that you eat a kilogramme of sandwich meat for access to a nightclub. Things were easier back home.
Beginning college, it is entirely natural to occasionally experience pangs of homesickness. For many people, moving away for college represents the first time they'll have lived away from their family for any significant amount of time. What with all the incumbant stresses of beginning college, pretty much everyone will find themselves missing home at some point during their first year. It's important to realise that this is in no way unique. If you're worried about how you might cope with homesickness, then don't be, we've got some tips for you.
1) Get Amongst It:
One of the best things to do when you're feeling homesick is to not dwell on it. While you may not feel like going out and meeting up with people, isolating yourself is only going to compound the issue. Therefore, it's vital that you try keep yourself as active as possible in college. Sign up for societies, go to as many Freshers', and course mingling events as possible; before long, you'll have a group of friends to rely on, and who are all in the exact same boat as you. Keeping yourself busy is the best possible way to not give yourself the time to get homesick, and, before you realise it, you'll find yourself missing home, less and less.
2) Home Comforts:
That said, it is however impossible to keep yourself constantly busy, and it's inevitable inevitable moments where you'll find yourself missing home. Feelings of homesickness are exacerbated, or often caused by, feeling disconnected from your friends and family. Having some small momentos, be they photographs or some sentimental items, will help you maintain a sense of connection to your home life.
3) Find Some People Who Look Vaguely Like Your Family:
If you find yourself really struggling however, then the best piece of advice I have for you is to go out and try befriend people who happen to look quite like members of your family. For example, you see a small, old lady, who happens to vaguely resemble your grandmother, doddering along to the shops near your halls of residence. You should go up to her, get chatting, and before you know it, you'll be thinking, "Granny, who!? Edith's the only elderly lady that I'm going to visit to watch epsidoes of Antiques Roadshow with!".
4) Rig Up An Elaborate Series Of Mannequins To Resemble Your Family:
Alright, you've followed all the other points on this list and still find yourself hankering for time with your family. Well, if that's the case then we posit this as something of a 'nuclear option'. You could, as an absolute last resort, secure several mannequins and dress them as members of your family with clothes you've bought from a charity shop. Have the lights dimmed in your room somewhat to aid the illusion of resemblance - and to hide your shoddy workmanship. Before you know it, you'll be sitting at your desk, having dinner surrounded by the whole gang again. Should you resort to this option however, we implore you to always hide these mannequins before ever inviting people back to your rooms.
5) Travel Back:
Or, more simply, you could decide to forego that terrifying option and, using the money you'd set aside to purchase mannequins and second-hand clothes, just buy yourself a student train ticket to visit home. It will invariably work out cheaper, so you can also ply yourself with delicious snacks while on the train, and, it's impossible to get across just how much less of a sinister option it is. Ultimately, the greatest way of beating homesickness is, simply, to head back home when you've the chance.