What to do if you feel like you don’t fit in at university
University Mental Health Day on 7th March brings together the student community to make mental health a university-wide priority. Completing your degree can come with a whole handful of other issues – a common one relating to fears about not fitting in. If you’re feeling this way, remember that you’re not alone. We’ve put together some useful tips to help tackle these feelings…
1. Be kind to yourself and embrace the truth of who you are
This is an important first step to consider. Everyone is unique and our qualities make us different. Embracing who you are and accepting that your interests might be different from those around you is the key to enjoying a fulfilling and happy life! Whether you enjoy letting your hair down and going on a night out or you’d rather stay in and get cosy with a good book, it’s those characteristics that make you, you, and those features are needed in this world so stay true to yourself.
2. Take a break from social media
Social media has become a HUGE influence on how we see ourselves and other people. Looking at glossy Instagram pictures of other students and influencers living their seemingly-perfect lives is certainly going to make you feel like an outcast, because in truth, what people post and what we see on our feeds is far from reality. Taking regular breaks from scrolling through feeds could help you connect back with the real world and to help stop those anxious feelings of not fitting in with the flawless lives we see on social media.
3. Try something new
If you feel like you haven’t met the right group of friends at university, don’t panic, there are a number of ways to meet new people that could potentially be more suited to you. There are lots of societies to get involved with, like music, sport or even crazy unusual ones like Harry Potter quidditch societies! If you find one that you’re interested in, chances are you’ll get to meet like-minded people and find a group of friends that you really feel connected to. It’s worth a try!
4. Use your voice
The 2019 theme for University Mental Health Day is ‘use your voice’, which in itself is a great take-home message for what to do if you feel like you don’t fit in at uni. We all have mental health (whether we have issues or not) and to look after it properly we could all do with opening up more and using our voices. This could be to help others or to vent our own problems so we’re not bottling things up. So, let’s create conversations, take action and inspire change together!
If you are really struggling to shake the feeling of not fitting in – or anything else that might be on your mind – then don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s perfectly common to see a counsellor for regular sessions, or, even simply chatting to family and friends back home about your feelings could help a huge amount. Remember, you’ll find wellbeing resources on our Mental Health Hub, as well as a list of all the university Student Support Centres.
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