By Abigail Pearce
I don’t know about you, but before coming to Oxford – while I’d heard a lot about fifth week blues – I hadn't heard anyone mention anything about ‘freshers' week blues’. Perhaps it should have been so obvious it needn’t be discussed, but I got so caught up in the whirlwind of pre-uni excitement that I forgot to consider how tough adjusting to uni life is.
This is not homeickness like when you go away for a school trip, this is a whole new breed of terrifying and missing home. Not that I’m trying to scare you! This does get more manageable very quickly, but on my first day here I was distraught and I’d like to be clear that this is a completely normal reaction to moving away from the support system you’ve known all your life.
Freshers week has so much going on, it can be so overwhelming, that you can feel like you’re left with no time to deal with the tumult of homesick feelings you’ve been experiencing. So here’s my suggestions:
Find some time and space for yourself: this may be in the morning before things get going, late at night after you’ve finished your evening activities, or a couple of empty hours in the middle of the day. Don’t be afraid to spend some time on your own, call home, watch some Netflix, anything to make you comfortable.
Make your room feel like home. It can’t always be easy to figure out how to do this – my pin board is difficult to pin anything into and I had a lot of empty wall space that could feel quite overbearing – but uni students can be some of the most inventive people you’ll ever come across so hop online for some suggestions about how to add your own, easy, personal touch.
Keep busy. I’m not trying to contradict my first point – it’s important to find a balance – too much space or alone time can be as crushing as no time to breathe. The best way to get through this and find your feet is to be sociable, make some friends (they don’t have to be your best friends, it’s only your first week so don’t put too much pressure on that) and speak to other people – you’re all going through the same thing!
We don’t talk about this enough, but inevitably you’ll find that – once you’ve arrived at Oxford – eveything deflates just a bit. Instead of the excitement that’s been brewing inside you, you can feel like ‘oh, this is it?’ or become disillusioned with the city you’ve been dreaming of studying in for years. It no longer feels special or magical, it can become marred by how you’re feeling about your week generally and leave you disappointed.
When you’re experiencing this, I’d recommend going for a walk and doing something touristy: visit another college, a library, museums, the botanic garden etc. it’ll remind you of what you loved about the university in the first place and hopefully strike some awe into you that this is where you live now!
If you’re feeling down and need someone to talk to, check out Oxford Nightline: https://oxford.nightline.ac.uk/ who are available to talk about anything from 8pm-8am everyday during term at 01865 270 270.