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Dealing with homesickness and focusing on studying

Homesickness sucks. Suh-hucks. It transforms you into a depressed species and makes you almost unrecognizable to yourself. Anyone going through this feeling knows the nature of the beast: one minute you’re smiling, the next you’re standing in the college canteen sobbing because they don’t have your favorite rajma chawaal. It’s not about your mum’s rajma chawaal. It’s the lack of “normal” everywhere you turn.

Moving away from your loved ones and house for studying for an extended period of time, is complicated. The experience of meeting new faces, the college fun and fresh environment can be thrilling, energizing and eye-opening, but it can also be incredibly challenging in a number of ways that words can’t describe. The purpose of moving out of the comfort zone of your house is lost when many students can’t focus on their academic goals and constantly feel nostalgic. It can intensely affect their study plans and daily chores.

Let me get it right. Homesickness does not literally mean you are missing your house. It’s about missing what’s normal, what is routine, the larger sense of social space because those are the things that help us survive. Homesickness, like any other vaguely communicable disease, won’t go away overnight.

Once you remove the homesick, gloomy glasses, you’ll be able to see everything around you in a new, more positive light. Here are a few strategies that can help you get those glasses off a little faster and focus on studying.

Get Out of Your Room

Is there any point in sitting in your room all day feeling sorry for yourself? It’s incredibly easy to bury your head under the pillow in your room. But doing so will prevent you from meeting new people, trying new things, and experiencing college life in general. University is packed with opportunities to try new things and meet new people – take up a sport, join student clubs and societies, find a part-time job, check out the campus social calendar. Take out some time for the campus coffee shop, the quad, or the library.

Think Positive

The first step in overcoming homesickness is realizing that there isn’t anything wrong with you. Feeling homesick is a beautiful part of your journey—you can’t enter a new phase without going through some sort of an adjustment period. As cliché as it sounds, make an effort and maintain a positive attitude. Keep reminding yourself of all the good things about being here. Even when you feel worst, make yourself smile – it really does help. Turn that frown upside down!

Stay Healthy & Exercise Regularly

You may get tempted to indulge in comfort foods, but trust me, it’s a bad idea. It’s important to remember to stay healthy while you’re away from home. Not only will this make you feel a lot better, but it will also help boost your energy levels and improve your concentration. It will also help you to avoid other illnesses, such as fresher’s flu. Eat well, get plenty of sleep, exercise and get some fresh air. Eating badly and being inactive can make you feel lethargic and bring down your mood.

Keep in Touch with Friends and Family Back Home

Do not distance yourself from your loved ones or keep yourself overly attached. Find the right balance and remain in contact with your family and friends to feel good. You can even invest some time to write to them or send them an e-mail. So, pick up the phone, use Skype or instant messaging, or even send letters and postcards. Don’t keep your homesickness a secret; talk about your problems as it will help you feel better.

Keep Aside Some “Me” Time

It is a perfect opportunity for you to understand yourself better, what motivates you and defines you. Go ahead and unearth your thoughts and use them to keep distractions at bay. Try to find an empty room — even if you’re living in the hostel or with a family — dim the lights, close your eyes, and just breathe deeply and relax. Sometimes, disconnecting from the surroundings for some time can be very calming.

Make Your New Home a Home

Absorbing the surroundings is an easy way to settle down. Find out coffee houses or hangout places near your house, take a breath of fresh air on your balcony, look at the sunset or go for a walk in the backyard garden. Turning your study space into something that’s more comfortable and gives you a sense of control over your environment is a good idea too. Put a picture of your parents on the study table or get some stuff from your house like your favourite mug, cereal, laddoos or the wall clock gifted by your little sister.

Finally, remember that feeling homesick at a new university is a common experience – and one that you, like thousands of other students, will eventually get through.  Whether you choose to follow some of these tips or come up with your own plans, do what you can to make your study experience a time filled with good memories. Who knows — maybe when you return home, you might start feeling homesick for your university instead!

Have you ever experienced homesickness? If so, please share your tips for managing it with us!

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