Thompson Rivers University

Coping with loneliness and homesickness

  Posted on: October 20, 2020

person standing on the edge of a dock on a cloudy day

Student storyteller Manuella Ceballos shares some tips on coping with loneliness, homesickness, and the dreaded fear of missing out.

In the age of remote learning and social distancing, folks might be feeling disconnected and discontented. With everyone steering clear of social gatherings, feelings of loneliness might be increasing or intensifying as the months wear on. Student Storyteller Manuela Ceballos shares some tips on coping with loneliness, homesickness and the dreaded fear of missing out—all feelings she worked through when she left Colombia to attend university in Canada.

“I knew that moving to Kamloops was a long trip and a big change. While I was excited, the only thing holding me back—which I didn’t realize it at first—was missing my family and friends back home. Fear aside, I came to Canada, and I don’t regret it ever, even in the most challenging moments.”

Managing your FOMO

  • Establish short- and long-term goals to stay on track
  • Remember your ‘why’—you’re in university for a reason and it’s important to focus on your studies
  • Stay connected with loved ones (there are so many ways to connect through phone calls, text, group chat and social media)
  • Stay grounded in the moment  
  • Book a counselling appointment to get advice on handling FOMO, homesickness and any other worries. The Multi-Faith Chaplaincy and the Wellness Centre also offer connection and support
  • Maintain boundaries, try not to be excessively involved in everyone’s life back home

Balance your academic and social life

Once Manuela settled into campus life, she found herself getting overwhelmed with all her responsibilities. “I was missing out on lots of social opportunities and I was feeling lonely. That loneliness helped motivate me to manage my time better, so I had space in the calendar for fun and relaxation.”

  • Share your context. Let your friends know how you’re feeling
  • Make plans to connect so you have something to look forward to
  • Visualize your short-term priorities and your long-term goals whenever study or work takes precedence over social time
  • Use a reward system. Looking forward to spending time with friends, hobbies or favorite activities can increase motivation to tackle your to-do list
  • Visit the Writing Centre or the Math Centre, or attend Supplemental Learning sessions or Student Success courses to learn how to work and study more effectively
  • Organize virtual study sessions with your friends
  • Start a virtual book club or host a virtual movie marathon, or create a shared Spotify playlist
  • Another great way to stay connected is to join campus groups like peer mentor programs, student clubs, TRUSU and others so you can meet meet new people

Check out the website for more information on personal, social and academic supports.