What to do if you feel lonely at university
Student life can be isolating sometimes.
You’ve moved to a different city, you’re away from home comforts and your support network, and you’re getting to know a whole new group of people.
However, there's always something you can do to feel better and there are always people who care. These are my top five tips to beat loneliness as a student.
1. Get involved with your community
There are so many amazing volunteering projects you can be a part of to make someone else’s day a bit brighter and put a smile on your own face too.
For example, you can combine running with doing good deeds by signing up to Good Gym, where volunteers run to and from local community projects, such as repainting a school fence or visiting an elderly person’s house to help with a task or just have a friendly chat.
This is a great way to make friends, keep fit and do something positive for someone in your community all at the same time. Check out your university’s volunteering groups too.
2. Make little changes to your daily life
Being engaged and present in your day-to-day life can help you to feel more connected to the people around you.
Little things like not looking down at your phone when walking outside and returning a smile from a passer-by may seem small but they're not insignificant. These things will add up to boost your mood.
A great new initiative you can take advantage of is ‘Happy to Chat’ benches, which have been set up in parks and towns around the country to encourage people to say hello to each other. You can take a seat there and know that anyone who sits down is up for a conversation. Just a little chat could really help.
3. Get involved in extra-curricular activities
I know university is a lot of work and keeping on top of all the deadlines can be time-consuming, but overworking yourself can make you feel more isolated.
Instead, make time to do something you enjoy with like-minded people by joining a society at your university. If you're a shy or introverted person, the prospect of doing this might seem daunting, but there are a few tactics you can try to overcome your anxiety.
4. Keep in contact with friends and family
As well as investing time and effort into friendships at uni, staying in contact with those at home is equally as important. A good balance between time spent talking to home friends and uni friends will help you to maintain those friendships, but still be involved with your current life at uni.
If you’re super busy (which most of us are!), try fitting in a quick call to your parents on your way back from lectures, or as you’re walking to the shops!
5. Use technology and social media wisely
FaceTime, Skype, calls and messaging can all be amazing ways to stay in contact with your loved ones, but spending too much time on your phone or laptop can be quite isolating.
It’s difficult as a student when all your uni work is online and your phone is your connection to home, but putting your phone away for a few hours each day will help you to spend more quality, focused time with people at uni.
Social media can also contribute to feelings of loneliness so why not try having one social media-free day a week where you don’t check Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and see how you feel? You might be surprised how much better you feel.
We hope these tips will help you feel less lonely at university and remember to speak to someone if you are really struggling. There are support services available at your university or nationwide helplines. Someone will always listen.