Getting Over First Year Homesickness

The only picture of my first year bedroom I could find

I walked through the doors into the cool August air. A stark difference from the heatwave in southern Ontario I just left. The Victoria airport rests beside a small mountain. I’d never seen anything like it before.

High school forgot to teach me many things. I didn’t know how to vote, file taxes, clean the bathroom. I didn’t know how to be an adult. I didn’t know how to be on my own.

I sat down on my new bed, in my new room and watched my mother drive back to the airport.

All my friends were back home going to university in the same old town we grew up in. Going to the same old mall, eating at the same old restaurants, hanging out with the same old friends. I envied them. I felt alone.

But I wasn’t. As I talked to people on campus I met so many out of province students who knew exactly what I was going through.

To help get through this transition, here’s a list of my top 3 tips for feeling at home here at UVic, whether you’re from far away, or just down the street:

1. Decorate your room so it doesn’t feel like a dark prison cell.

Put up posters, buy 40 plants, pick out the happiest bedspread you can find. Coming back from a stressful day of classes you need a place to relax. By the end of the year, when you tell your friends that you’re going back to your room/house, you’ll be saying, “I’m going home”.

The Marina

2. Explore the city.

Don’t be a tourist, Victoria is your town now. Eat paletas from Kid Sister in Chinatown, grab a coffee at the Breakwater Cafe, check out the musical stairs at the Bastion Square Parkade.

When a tourist timidly comes up to you asking what bus to take to the Marina, you can confidently say that you are part of the city.

Pkols (Mount Douglas) hike

3. Meet other people who aren’t from Victoria.

Talk about your hometowns together and how stressful it is to move to a place so different from what you know. Talk about the excessive hiking culture and how people always say ‘thank you’ to the bus drivers. Nothing will make you feel more at home than finding other people who are beginning to call Victoria their home too.

The breakwater

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