You’ve been preparing for university for years—taking SATs, shoring up your GPA, showing up for those extracurriculars. And likely you were secretly thrilled to be on your own when your parents dropped you off.

So why do you suddenly feel so homesick?

According to research, homesickness is a common reaction to being separated from familiar people, pets and places back home. And you’re not the only one. In fact, over 90 percent of new students experience moderate homesickness, according to a Skyfactor report.

Fortunately, homesickness at university usually passes within a few weeks. The rollercoaster of emotions has three phases, experts say: first you’re enjoying the novelty of new experiences (the honeymoon phase), then suddenly you’re in shock (moping in your dorm room). But soon comes the recovery phase, when you start to feel normal again.

Here are some steps to help.

  1. Get out of your room. Go to meetings, join a club, attend guest
    lectures. You’ll feel less lonely and find new friends too.
  2. Create small opportunities to get to know people. Someone sitting next to you in class might share your passion for rock climbing. Learn to ask questions when you meet someone new and you’ll be surprised by how fast you find a connection.
  3. Stay in touch with your home team. Your family and friends want to hear from you—and will warmly welcome you on your first visit home.
  4. Choose activities that make you feel balanced. Go for a run, join a yoga class, learn to practise Transcendental Meditation, which helps ease anxiety and stress and raises self-esteem. Or better yet, organize your own yoga or meditation club in your dorm.
  5. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Every univeristy has a counseling center, and they are pros at getting homesick students back on track.

Ride this rollercoaster to the finish line and you’ll be prepared to manage any major change in your life.