Humans are social creatures that thrive on interaction with others. So being left to our devices is not something we enjoy. University can be an isolated and lonely place for around 80% of the time.
My own personal experience with feeling lonely
For me, one reason I began to feel lonely was due to media expectations of university. This idea that you will be out partying 5 days a week and making a best friend every day was so hyped up. When I realised that uni life is not like this, it brought me crashing down. Because my uni experience didn’t resemble the social expectations I had seen in films and on TV.
What you could do to try overcoming your loneliness?
What helped me? Well, I had a few things that have helped me feel like I am not so alone. I was lucky enough to be in my halls with people who weren’t too different to me. They weren’t my usual type of friend (like I had from back home) but they were nice people and we grew to be friends. Speaking to these people made me realise how everyone was feeling the same.
What advice I would give to help take your mind off loneliness?
My advice would be to find something that helps you feel better about yourself. It could be a hobby that you enjoy. Whilst at university I found reading and writing to be a massive help. It helped me with being more confident with words. The good thing about a hobby, its can help allow you forget any of your worries. University is all about trying new things. Discovering what you may be good at and what you should never try again!
It's alright to enjoy our own company
Take time for yourself, you're allowed to enjoy your own company without feeling ‘lonely’. We need to be able to enjoy being with ourselves. Because how are you supposed to let others be around you if you cannot even deal with being with yourself.
Never bottle up your feelings
Sometimes we need a friend to talk to. I know myself have felt lonely and it is always such a relief when you have someone to talk to. Even if you think it is the most stupid of feelings, it is better to talk to someone. Knowing you have someone there to talk to makes you feel that little bit less alone. Never bottle up your emotions. You don’t want to burden them with your problems but they want to be there for you. Don’t push yourself away from people. That’s what friends are for, to make you feel better.
Talk, talk, talk
Last, an important one. There are not just people who you know that can be there for you. Most universities have people you can talk to. They offer counselling to those that might not have people they can turn to. Everyone deserves to have someone to talk to. Loneliness can lead to serious problems like depression.
We need to take the concept of loneliness seriously. You are not alone when you are lonely; there are people out there to talk to. Age UK offers a befriending service that brings people together. They give you the chance to speak with an older person who is feeling lonely. An amazing concept that isn’t just helping the elderly people. But the volunteer is also given the company that they need themselves.
We all want to feel like someone cares about what we have to say. I know sometimes I appreciate it when people listen. Age UK is always looking for volunteers, no one deserves to feel lonely.
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