Ad­vice on re­la­tion­ships, ed­u­ca­tion and well-be­ing

Friday - - Beauty -


Q I’m 18 and have just started univer­sity. While I’ve en­joyed the first few weeks, I am sud­denly feel­ing very home­sick and anx­ious. I miss my par­ents and my sis­ter and I just want to go home.

AIt’s about the time of year when stu­dents sud­denly re­alise how much their lives have changed; the first few ex­cit­ing weeks of univer­sity are over, and the re­al­ity of be­ing away from home can hit them hard.

Be­ing away from the fam­ily dy­namic on a long-term ba­sis for the first time is some­thing many young peo­ple as­sume they’re ready for… un­til it ac­tu­ally hap­pens. And once the nov­elty of start­ing your new course and mak­ing friends wears off, as it inevitably does, all that can be left for some is that un­for­tu­nate by-prod­uct of be­ing in­de­pen­dent for the first time – lone­li­ness.

Leav­ing to go to univer­sity, no mat­ter how hard you’ve worked to get there, still means be­ing wrenched from the se­cu­rity your fam­ily.

As a child, you tend not to think too hard about those strong emo­tional bonds that bond you like glue to the ones you love. You just live your life and ac­tu­ally en­joy a great deal of free­dom. You might think it’s strange to look at child­hood that way, but as I’m sure you’re be­gin­ning to re­alise, adult­hood and go­ing out on your own for the first time brings with it the re­al­i­sa­tion you are sud­denly to­tally re­spon­si­ble for your­self.

For some, that’s some­thing they em­brace, but for oth­ers, like your­self, it can feel like a very heavy bur­den to have to start car­ry­ing. It can make you long for the com­fort of home and it can cause anx­i­ety.

So, how best to com­bat these feel­ings of home­sick­ness and the as­so­ci­ated anx­i­eties? Well, the first thing to do is try to keep your move to­wards in­de­pen­dence in per­spec­tive – the first step to­wards truly be­ing a re­spon­si­ble, rounded adult is be­ing able to cope with test­ing sit­u­a­tions, like the one you’re in, with con­fi­dence. Ac­cept these first few home­sick weeks are a rite of pas­sage, if you will, and the best thing you can do to fight lone­li­ness is to throw your­self whole­heart­edly into both your course and univer­sity life in gen­eral.

Face the anx­i­ety head on – home­sick feel­ings be­gin fade over time as you adapt to your new sur­round­ings and be­gin to build a sta­ble net­work of friends.

It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that many of those other young peo­ple that sur­round you are also feel­ing ex­actly the same as you and you’ve got to try to keep putting the ef­fort into in­ter­act­ing with as many new peo­ple and sit­u­a­tions as you pos­si­bly can. Your fam­ily will al­ways be there for you, and with to­day’s ad­vances in tech­nol­ogy they’re only ever go­ing to be a FaceTime away!

How­ever, if those feel­ings be­gin to over­whelm you and you feel you’re re­ally not cop­ing, it’s im­por­tant to seek out the help of stu­dent ser­vices and talk to them. Most uni­ver­si­ties have great coun­selling ser­vices

Ac­cept these first FEW home­sick weeks are a RITE OF PAS­SAGE and the best thing you can do to FIGHT LONE­LI­NESS is to throw your­self into both your course and UNIVER­SITY LIFE

that can help get you through those times when you feel low, so don’t hes­i­tate to use them.

To con­clude, put the worry and anx­i­ety aside, and try to fo­cus on the fu­ture and keep in mind all of the hard work you have put in to get to where you are. Find­ing a small group of friends who share your in­ter­ests will help to bond you to a wider cir­cle. Take com­fort in the fact that your fam­ily will al­ways be there for you, and that’s the rea­son you miss them so much. RUS­SELL HEM­MINGS

is a life coach, and clin­i­cal and cog­ni­tive be­havioural hyp­nother­a­pist

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