University is sold to you like a lucrative five-star holiday package. It is said that University will be (quote): ‘The Best Years of Your Life’. You are promised so many things: a buzzing social life, wild university nights out, endless society functions, basically: Non. Stop. Fun. And of course, how can I forget, you have to fit your actual degree and learning in amongst all of this. However, for many students the reality of University life is the exact opposite, especially when it comes to dealing with loneliness at Uni.
It can be stressful and above all, a lonely time for students who in reality, spend the majority of their time alone studying in the library or in their rooms. Equally, for those students who stay at home for University and who commute instead, University can also be a very lonely place: you can feel like you don’t fit in, like there are established clicks you can’t seem to break into, and that overall, you are estranged from the University community where you don’t physically live on campus. So the purpose of this article is to give students 10 effective and productive ways to combat loneliness at Uni.
1. Talk to someone
If you can’t bring yourself to talk to your flatmates, the people on your degree, your parents, then reach out to professional counselling services that your university has to offer. Or alternatively, make the most of online services such as the Samaritans helpline where someone is always available to listen to you. The more you start talking to people, the more you will realise that you are not alone and that many people feel the same way that you do. The worst thing you can do is bottle it all up and allow your loneliness to consume you.
2. Spend as much time as possible out of your room as possible
When you are not attending lectures or seminars, you spend the majority of your time in your room. This can be very dangerous as you are left alone with your thoughts and you can tend to overthink things. Try to spend as much time as possible out of your room. This might mean sitting and working in your flat kitchen or living room (if you are lucky to have one), or working in your Uni café – surround yourself by people so that even if you don’t actually speak to anyone, there is always the opportunity there if you want to.
3. Get a job (or volunteer) on campus
I know it is easier said than done as University jobs can be limited, but try to get a job on or near to your University campus where your colleagues will more than likely be other students. This means you can meet and talk to a range of students from other academic disciplines and make some money at the same time. If you can’t get a permanent job than try to sign up for volunteering instead which is so worthwhile and will make you feel good for helping others. You will be part of a team or a community and have different events and dates scheduled in your diary to look forward to, which will all help to combat loneliness.
4. Join a society
This one is a must and quite frankly there is no excuse. There really is a society for everybody from sport societies like football and rugby, to obscure, random societies (yes it is true, the Harry Potter Society does exist at Queen Mary University where I am a student!). Societies are a great way to combat loneliness as you have regular meetings and socials and again you can meet people from other academic disciplines to yourself. Societies are also a great way for you to grow in confidence and meet like minded people to bring you out of your shell.
5. Get to know yourself
Learn to be your own best friend and find things that you like to do so that if you do find you have a lot of time to yourself, you will know how to spend it productively. This might be to taking up activities such as drawing or painting, trying to learn a new language, or binge watching a series on Netflix. Do not allow yourself to sit there and wallow, being left alone with your own thoughts can be toxic. This will definitely help you deal with loneliness at Uni.
6. Try a mindfulness or yoga class
Like the above point, one of the secrets to combatting loneliness is to become connected and content with yourself. Loneliness can cause you to become introverted and to think about yourself and the world around you in a negative way. Again it is easier said than done, but try to think positively and to see the good in everything that happens to you. Learn to appreciate your life and to make the most of it. Alternatively try a yoga class to connect with your body as well as your mind, and to again be in the company of like minded people whilst you do this.
7. Propose study dates
One reason why students spend so much time alone at University and thus suffer from loneliness is the amount of time their degree requires them to spend studying. But who says you have to study alone? Be brave and ask people in your lectures or your seminars if they want to study with you; this way you can still get your work done, help each other out, and have company at the same time. This is a great way to combat loneliness at University, and studies have shown that students who study together and discuss their ideas have better grades and higher success rates as they are able to bounce off of, and push one another to reach their full potentials.
8. Attend all of your lectures and seminars
This may seem like a strange way to combat loneliness at University, and more relevant to getting a good grade, but lectures and seminars are also a great way to meet people and interact with people. This is especially true for seminars which are smaller and more intimate and where you are more likely to stand out and have your voice heard, helping you deal with loneliness at Uni.
9. Don’t believe social media
Social media is a trap. You have been estranged from your home friends who have all gone to different Universities and all you seem to see is them posting fun selfies and videos with their ‘new friends’ at University. However, stop comparing your life to theirs, or to anybody else’s for that matter as social media doesn’t tell the full story: it is only a snapshot and people only ever post the highs and exclude the lows. So for every positive picture they might post, there are countless lonely and emotional nights they might not broadcast. Not that I want to encourage you to think of other people as lying, or to wish misery on other students, but just remember that all of what you see if not necessarily true and that there are two sides to every story.
10. Start a blog or connect with University group chats on social media
It is impossible to spend every waking minute in the physical company of others but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still talk to people regularly, or have your voice heard through other platforms. Why not start a blog about your University experience and reach out to other students who are in the same boat as you via social media platforms and chatrooms associated with your University? This could be a great way to meet new people who are having the same difficulties as you, and to combat loneliness at Uni.
So there you have it, 10 ways to help combat loneliness at Uni. If you can think of any other ways or if you have suffered loneliness at Uni, then feel free to comment in the section below this article.
Featured image: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-in-green-long-sleeved-shirt-919607/
My name is Nicole Brownfield and I am 20 years old. I am studying English Literature and going into my 3rd and final year of Queen Mary University, London in September. I am currently the Editor-In-chief of my University magazine 'CUB' and my dream is to pursue a career in journalism after I graduate. I love living in London and am obsessed with sourcing out food and drink places, as well as exploring the parts of London I have never been to before. My boyfriend and I have recently turned pescatarian and this symbolises my goal to constantly keep bettering myself and to stay healthy and disciplined. Every day I try and achieve something as I want to look back and be proud of the life I have lived, and to make my family proud too.