For those who are reading this.. You are not alone!
It is fair to say that almost every student will experience some sort of loneliness whilst they are studying at University. This might be due to being away from home, being around new people, struggling with mental health or just trying to adjust to living life independently.
I went to University expecting that I would not ever get a sense of loneliness because it was about to be the ‘best time of my life’ as many would describe it. However, that ‘best time of your life’ is not always going to be continuous ups, some downs will always arise (and that is okay!)
University gives you the independence you either wished for or never hoped for. You almost get thrown into a situation, which can either terrify you or excited you.. or both! Everyone has a different way of dealing with feeling lonely, and you are definitely not on your own if you start to feel lonely. Even students in their 3rd year begin to feel lonely, so it is not just a fresher thing!
I started to think of a few little tips and advice that can help towards battling loneliness at uni. I am no counsellor or expert, but I’m relaying advice I was given when I started to feel lonely so I hope some ideas help..
1 – Believe you can get past the loneliness
Your mind can play the biggest tricks on you, making you believe you are going to feel this way for a while. University gives you lifetime experiences, but it also allows you to retreat from joining in with friends or feeling uncomfortable in situations. Shutting yourself away in your bedroom is very easy (trust me!), but it is even more easy when there is no-one checking up on you regularly.
Make it a habit that if you find yourself shutting away in your room, take a walk on your own. Instead of making a coffee in your place, treat yourself and go out for a coffee.
Fresh air can be an amazing thing when you haven’t felt it in a while!
2 – Seek the services at University that are available to you
The University has some great resources that are there for students like me and you! Firstpoint are a great aid of help for any common questions you have, but if you do have some more personal questions they can also guide you to speak to somebody in the University who may be able to assist you better.
As a University, we stand by those with Mental Health and we make it an important and forefront issue in society that we aim to battle together. The University has a counselling service, with trained counsellors who can help and aid you during some difficult times.
It is VERY common for students to feel lonely, so please do not ever underestimate those feelings because they are very real!
3 – Netflix is your worst nightmare
Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE Netflix and I binge watch it often and I am certainly not turning you away from Netflix. However, if you find yourself becoming lonely or you’re spending a lot of time in your room watching episodes and episodes on repeat because you don’t want to leave your room – it can become a sink hole!
When we get lonely, many of us turn to digital devices to help us feel better. When in fact, all it does is pass time extremely quickly and before you know it you’re 3 seasons in and 30 episodes down (been there, done that)
Try to find out what works for you. Some useful activities like zumba classes, going to the gym, going for a coffee with a friend, going to The Hive to read because that is where you feel most comfortable. Take it as an opportunity for you to find more out about yourself when you are feeling down. You will discover some new skills and gifts you have when you have time on your hands to do so!
Finally, relax! Being a student is NOT easy, and is not a walk in the park.
There are many students in the same position as you, and many students do not feel comfortable enough to talk about it, however it should be spoken about! No student should feel too embarrassed or too ‘old’ to feel lonely. The more we speak about it the more conversations will ignite from us sharing our experiences.
I hope this is somewhat helpful! Lauren xx