Five ways to handle being lonely at university
Whether you’re living in halls or at home with your family (or somewhere in between), it’s common to feel lonely during your first few months at uni.
Maybe you aren’t in halls (or don’t get on with your flatmates) and find it hard to socialise otherwise. Or you switched courses late on and everyone was already in their own groups. Or, maybe, adjusting to uni life is just a little harder than you thought it would be. Despite the thousands of other students around you every day, it’s easy to feel as though you have no one to talk to.
Whatever your reasons for feeling lonely, it’s important to remember that it’s not going to be like this forever. If you’re considering dropping out, or taking a break from your studies, or you just want to improve your uni experience, check out these tips to meeting other students and getting the most out of your studies. Remember, they still might end up being some of the best years of your life!
1. Join a society
It may seem obvious, and maybe a bit too much like organised fun, but have you tried one yet? It’s a good one if the UK’s infamous student party scene isn’t your thing. You don’t have to be into sports and have an eclectic talent hidden up your sleeve to join a society either. There’s everything from cultural societies, to baking, to volunteering, to wilderness. Whatever takes your fancy, there’s probably a society for it… maybe take up something completely new?
Check out your Union’s website and you could be meeting up with new mates on a weekly basis to do the things you love!
2. Sit next to someone new in lectures
It’s easy to think that everyone on your course have already formed tight-knit groups of friends. But really, everyone has still only known each other for a couple of months! Ask if that spare seat is free and get chatting.
Maybe there’s a course social coming up? Or just a normal night out? You’ll only know by asking… some people don’t get to know their course mates until the next semester, so you never know who you might meet.
3. Take up a part-time job (or volunteering)
Not only will you have a few extra pennies in your pocket, meeting people at work can make a huge impact if you’re feeling a bit lonely. Working different shifts mean you’ll meet different people too, and café or bars jobs will keep you chatting to customers throughout the day (or night).
If working isn’t for you, think about something you’re passionate about and check out local volunteering opportunities.
4. Hang out in your halls’ common areas, or in a regular spot in your Union/town’s cafés
Whether you’re doing a bit of work, reading, or just watching some TV, chill in your halls’ lounge and other people will be too. Once you start recognising each other it will be easy to make conversation!
5. Talk to someone about it
You can get yourself into a bad cycle of feeling lonely so much, that you then don’t even want to talk to other people about it. Open up to a friend from home, a family member, or even your tutor. It may not feel like it, but hundreds (if not thousands) of other people are in your position, and there are lots of people who are willing and able to help you out.
Someone else may be able to spot if the problem is bigger than feeling lonely too, and be able to point you in the direction of some useful wellbeing resources or contacts that might improve your mental health. If you’ve felt lonely for a long time, or quite intensely, you may be experiencing mental health difficulties, such as depression or anxiety. Find out more about mental health and being a student on the Student Minds website.