Struggling to settle in?

Struggling to settle in?

Beginning life at university can be a very overwhelming experience, and it is easy to feel homesick. You may feel a mixture of excitement and anxiety as you try to adjust to living away from home, for what is likely to be the first time for many students. You may be tearful, feeling sick, unable to sleep properly, or feeling generally unhappy and down when you think about being away from home.

Try to take comfort in the knowledge that it is completely normal to find yourself missing your family and friends during the first few weeks, or even months, of coming to university for the first time or returning after the summer break. It is a huge adjustment that you are making, and you've done amazingly to get to this point – congratulate yourself for sticking with it.

There are lots of things you can do to help beat these feelings, and soon enough you will be feeling a lot better about life in your new environment.

Talk to someone

Most students feel homesick at the beginning of the academic year, and you may be surprised to learn that your new flatmates are feeling exactly the same as you are. Just knowing that you're not alone in how you're feeling is likely to make you feel a lot better.

Get involved

Especially during the first few of weeks of term, there are loads of events going on for new students to get involved in. This will not only keep you distracted from missing home, but will introduce you to so many new people with the same kinds of interests. Take a look at our Get involved page to get some inspiration.

Home comforts

Bring some home comforts with you. There's no shame in bringing your old teddy bear with you to halls! Bring some photos from home and anything else from your bedroom that will make you feel more comfortable and settled in your new place.

Keep in touch with home

Plan a date to go home for the weekend, perhaps three or four weeks after getting to university. This seems like a good amount of time to allow yourself to get more familiar with your surroundings, and you will probably feel better knowing that you will see your family and friends in a few short weeks.

Try to be healthy

Your eating, sleeping and exercise habits can have a huge effect on your mood and general wellbeing. While it's easy for these things to become disrupted when you first come to university, try to get enough sleep, decent food and physical exercise into your new routine – it's easier for your mind to feel happy when your body is! Take a look at our Staying healthy webpages for further tips.

Your university studies

If these difficult feelings are affecting your studies, you can arrange to see your personal or year tutor for advice and support. Your course administrator will be able to put you in touch with the relevant staff. The administrator's details will be in the course handbook on Nottingham Trent University Online Workspace (NOW) or you can call the main University Switchboard (+44 (0)115 941 8418) and they will put you through. Specific study support is also available from specialist advisers and student mentors. Some schools have specialist advisers and all schools have student mentors.

Chaplaincy

The Chaplaincy Team are also available to offer support with settling in and adjusting to university life. They provide a listening ear for anyone and are often available for drop in, without an appointment, at the Wellbeing Centre at Clifton Campus. Alternatively you can email to make an appointment at any campus.

What if things get worse?

If you feel that things are getting worse and that you are not managing to settle, you may find that your health and wellbeing is being affected. For example, you may notice appetite changes or sleeping difficulties and you may be finding it hard to get involved with friends or engage with studies. If you haven't already done so, then it would be a good idea to see your GP or check out our staying healthy pages for useful advice and information.

Student chatting to a counsellor