Loneliness at University
Loneliness in university or college is completely normal. There are many people who feel the same way as you. If you find that your loneliness persists and makes you depressed, try talking to a close friend or family member. You can also visit the campus support center at any time.
What can cause loneliness?
Unmet need for social interaction or meaningful connection, though these can be seen as simple things, they are essential to our survival. However, we are all different… Do you feel better after a social event? or a chat with a loved one? Maybe a walk with friends? or a chat online? What fills up your social cup?
Loneliness can be manifested from depression or anxiety. Have you not been out much lately or getting as involved as you would normally? Although this is a very normal thing to be experiencing its good to check in with yourself on the situation before this loneliness feels like it’s getting too much or overwhelming, you are not alone.
University can be a very daunting place and that’s because its a place designed to challenge you and grow you as a person. However, with challenging you, means being pushed out of comfort zones and into new boundaries, sounds scary, but exciting right?
First and foremost…
How to tell if you are alone?
To clarify, “Loneliness” is not the same as being “alone”. You can have many friends and still feel lonely, but you can also spend time alone with satisfaction. Here are some suggestions to help you think about how you feel.
Does this bother you?
I don’t have anyone I feel close to.
I don’t have much in common with the people around me.
I don’t know how many people can hang out together.
No one asked me how I felt or how my day was going.
No one around me can be myself.
A question disappointed me, but I can’t tell anyone.
I cannot participate because I feel different from others (that is, because of money, age, disability, politics, or other reasons).
You may agree with one or more of them, or completely agree with other things. It may not be defined; you just feel that maybe something is missing. There are also physical and behavioural cues to pay attention to, such as feeling more stressed than usual.
You may notice changes in your diet, sleep, and exercise levels in response to emotions.
How to deal with loneliness at University
Loneliness is not something you can turn off, but there are ways to deal with emotions. If you don’t usually feel comfortable with your own feelings, start there.
Mindfulness, body scanning or keeping a diary can all help recognise and release emotions.
Join a society – even if it’s something you’ve never tried before, it will open you up to a completely new social network. If it involves exercise, even better!
Don’t feel like you’re stuck with one group of friends – university can be harsh and people can be harsher. The relationships you begin during the first few weeks are often forced and shallow. Just because you’ve been to pre-drinks with the same group every night for the past month, that doesn’t mean you have to stick with them, especially if you feel like it’s not a good fit.
Exercise – join the gym, go for a run, do some yoga; anything that gives your brain a break and re-energises you.
Take a look at the toolbox advice or NHS advice to get started. Even if you don’t like it, make a plan to get along with others-join a club or group, have dinner with roommates, or try to volunteer.
Companionship will increase your mood and reduce your sense of isolation. Social media is a great way to discover new events, so if it helps, use it. If it doesn’t make you feel good—that is, it affects your sleep or makes you unsatisfied with your life—please reduce the time you spend looking at the screen.
Sharing your feelings with others may be the most challenging aspect of loneliness, but it’s worth a try. You can open up to your family or friends or your trusted mentor-even an online anonymous message, or call the helpline.
If loneliness is related to a problem you are struggling with alone, such as housing, money, or bereavement, it is especially worth contacting a support organisation. Where to get help Your university’s student services/support team.
Samaritans-phone, email and face-to-face listening services.
Student thoughts-guidance and support tailored to college life.
Mind-mental health support and advice (including loneliness).
Please get in touch or send a referral form if you require professional support and our services, we are here to help you!
If everyone else is feeling a little lonely, what could you do today to help someone feeling alone?
Taking one step at a time, what could you do to get yourself out of your comfort zone and into new and exciting zones?