Overcoming homesickness as a student nurse

#hellomynameis Sophie, and I’m a first year student nurse.

When I was asked to write about overcoming homesickness, I was nervous – but then I thought maybe my experience can help others and let them know that they aren’t alone. Moving away from Northern Ireland was always something I wanted to do for University. I thought it was an experience that I didn’t want to miss out on. Surrey was the University I wanted to go to, and was always the goal. I was so excited when I got my offer and felt so ready to come over.

On that first day when my mum left, after we had unpacked my things and I was in my room alone, it hit me that this was it: Mum was going back to Northern Ireland and I was staying here. At first, I just cried, because I came to realise that I was going to have to find my own two feet by myself. Luckily during the first semester I coped. I was busy with my course, I had Fresher’s Week and was meeting lots of new people which took my mind off missing home. That definitely made it easier and I was able to see my family a few times – it was a great first semester.

However when I had around 5 weeks off for Christmas, it was a real challenge.  I had gotten so used to my life at home and seeing my family and friends at any time. The night before I came back, I was filled with dread and sadness, but I got on with it and came back to university for semester two.  To say I struggled was an understatement. For weeks I didn’t feel myself, I felt very sad and anxious. But my personal tutor was great, and with her support she helped me deal with it. She was able to put me in contact with girls who had been in the same position and talking with them really helped because they knew how it felt and could relate. At one stage I wasn’t sure if I could do it and continue on at University because I was finding it so hard as I wasn’t happy. However, when I spoke with my family and came home for a couple of weeks, I came to the decision that I would regret leaving Surrey, as I had made so many wonderful friends and the course was an opportunity I would regret giving up. Without the support of my family I don’t think I could have done it.

Semester three began and I thought I was okay and that I wouldn’t get upset or struggle – but honestly the first few days I did. But I just had to get on with it as I knew it was always going to be hard coming back after having such a lovely time at home. I was always worried about this semester as we are in placement for sixteen weeks and finish in August. I think I will find it hard when everyone finishes for summer and my friends go home while I stay on campus. But I knew this was part of the package, so it is important for me to be able to be positive and keep going; getting time to go home or visits from my friends and family makes it possible to keep going. And all the amazing placement experiences are an opportunity I would be silly to miss!

I know being away from home is always going to be hard. There will be days I will feel a bit sad or homesick, but I know that it does get easier, and my family are only a call away. It is so important that you have a good set of friends that you can tell if you are having a bad day and they can support you and help you through it. A lot has changed from where I was during my second semester to now, but I believe it makes you a stronger person and the hard times are worth it to have these amazing experiences, meeting so many people and being able to find my own two feet – alongside the fact I get a degree at the end of it all!

Author: Sophie MacDonald, Year 1 Student

Disclaimer: This blog contains personal opinions of students only and does not necessarily represent the views of the Children’s Nursing team, School of Health Sciences or the University of Surrey.

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