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Feeling lonely in university
Feeling lonely at university might seem strange but it’s actually very common, especially with online lessons and lectures becoming the norm over the last couple of years.
You can be surrounded by many people and still feel lonely, just as you can be alone and not lonely. It’s a feeling most people will experience at some point in their lives and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. There are a lot of factors that can contribute to the feeling of loneliness whilst at university:
- Moving away from home, family and friends.
- Adjusting to a new environment, city or even country.
- Living at home during university, being a mature student and feeling like you’re missing out.
- Online lectures and lack of social interaction and routine.
The thing to remember is that feeling lonely at university is perfectly normal, especially for first year students, but there are plenty of resources available to help you right on your doorstep.
How do I know if I’m lonely?
Being lonely isn’t the same as being alone. You may feel like there’s just ‘something‘ missing, it may not be definable but if one of the following bothers you, you may be lonely:
- I don’t have someone I feel really close to.
- I don’t have much in common with the people around me.
- I don’t know many people to hang out with.
- No-one asks how I’m feeling, or how my day went.
- I don’t have anyone I can be myself around.
- A problem is getting me down, but I can’t tell anyone.
- I can’t join in with things because I feel different to others (i.e. because of money, age, disability, politics, or something else).
How can I cope with loneliness?
You can’t just switch off the feeling of loneliness, but there are ways to handle those feelings. Mindfulness or keeping a diary all help identify and release those feelings.
Even if you don’t feel like it, make plans to be around others. Just remember, it’s not necessarily the quantity of social interactions that can help, but the quality. University is the perfect place in finding likeminded people who share similar interests so don’t feel afraid to strike up a conversation with someone in your class or your flat. Invite them for a drink or study session or even cook together. The companionship will lift your mood, and reduce feelings of isolation.
Joining a club or sports team, meet new people and broaden your social circle. Student Unions also hold plenty of events like quiz nights, bingo lingo and music nights which are a great way to connect with others.
Opening up about how you feel can really help cope with loneliness. It’s difficult to talk but sharing how you feel with family, a friend, someone you trust or even contacting a support organisation will make the world of difference. Check out our ‘Your wellbeing‘ section for support organisations that can and will help you.
It’s just another emotion.
Loneliness is just like any other feeling or emotion – it comes and goes. Reach out for help if you need it.
9th to 15th May 2022 is Mental Health Awareness Week with the theme of Loneliness.
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