Home Away From Home: Navigating the Move to Sancta and Dealing with Homesickness

By Jess Harrison (Fresher 2024)

Moving out of home is a universal, yet daunting process and is usually accompanied by a whirlwind of emotions. Whether you move out of home freshly after graduating from high school, or after a gap year or two, and whether your new home is just a couple of minutes away or hours on an international plane, the emotions and disorientation can be confronting. However, dealing with moving and experiencing homesickness is not talked about often – even though everyone goes through it. 

Principal Fiona Hastings welcomes Jess to Sancta at the 2024 Commencement Dinner.


About 70% of Sancta’s undergraduate residents are from outside of the Sydney region, meaning there is a huge portion of our community for which Sancta truly is a ‘home away from home’. As someone from Coffs Harbour, a regional city in NSW, this was one of the traits about Sancta that appealed to me, as I knew I would be surrounded by so many other students who were in the same boat, moving to a different city and starting from scratch. Welcome Week was full of opportunities to meet new people and build connections. However, by the end of the second week, the excitement started to wear off and the homesickness started to settle in. Admittedly, I missed my dog more than my family, but I still couldn’t wait to go back home. 

Jess (right) and fellow Sancta students enjoying a memorable Formal Dinner in the Dining Hall.


So, after navigating the move away from home myself, here are my tips for dealing with moving and homesickness:


Decorate your room

To combat homesickness, you need to make your new home feel like a home. There’s no worse feeling than being alone in a new environment that doesn’t feel like your own space. Personalise it! Bring your decorations, pictures of happy memories for your wall, candles, and even your stuffed toys that you’ve had since you were two years old. I even brought my plant from my grandma – anything to make my new room resemble a little bit of the comfort from back home. 

Jess’s well-decorated room with personal mementos makes all the difference.


Set up a routine

The most difficult part of moving away from home is the sense of disorientation; not knowing how to fill your time or what to do with your days. The best way to settle in quickly is to establish a routine – particularly one that resembles your routine from home. If you go to the gym a couple of times a week at home, find a new gym buddy and head to Sydney Uni Sport and Fitness (you already have a free full membership through Sancta!). Or, if you are feeling lost in your study routine, make it a habit to attend Study Hall (affectionately known as ‘Nerd Nights’) or talk to Pippa, our Dean of Students, about creating a study schedule. 


Jess and her Sancta dance teammates ready to perform at the 2024 Intercollege Palladian Cup Dance Competition.


Call your family and friends often!

I know, I know. It’s one of those things that you always mean to do but never get around to. But the truth is, if you don’t make it a habit to reach out to them, you probably never will. Make a practice of calling your mum on your walk to class, or FaceTime your friends when you need a study break during the day. Moving away doesn’t mean you can’t still be a part of each other’s lives!


Jess (left) with her dog and siblings.


At the end of the day, these tips and tricks may help with some of the changes of moving, but they don’t guarantee you won’t feel homesick. Remember, everyone is going through the same thing, so don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to others. Sancta’s team of Resident Assistants and staff are there to support you and help you settle into life at Sancta, too. Hopefully, these suggestions will make the adjustment a little bit easier!