Loneliness is something that a lot of students experience whilst at university, from moving away from your home to somewhere new to missing your family and friends to struggling to make friends.
Whilst your university experience can introduce you to tons of new people, it can also leave you feeling left out and like you’re alone, but you’re not! Research has shown that almost half of UK students admit to feeling lonely whilst at university.
If you’re feeling lonely at uni, don’t worry within this blog we will be focusing on the top 10 tips and tricks to try and help you overcome these feelings!
Why Do Students Feel Lonely At Uni?
Unfortunately, loneliness is commonly experienced by university students with studies suggesting that 1 in 4 students are lonely most if not all the time.
Students can feel lonely, home-sick and feel that they’re struggling with their wellbeing whilst at uni for several reasons, and it’s certainly something normal to expect if you are feeling this way especially during the first few weeks and months.
Whether it’s the fact you miss the familiarity of home comforts of your parents’ home or whether you miss your friends from home or if you’re not finding it easy to meet new people who you feel have things in common with you. There really are so many factors that can come into play when it comes to why you feel lonely, but just remember that you aren’t alone.
Tips & Tricks To Combat Loneliness
What a lot of people don’t realise is that you can feel lonely and be surrounded by people, you don’t have to be completely alone to feel lonely. This emotion is a feeling we get when we don’t feel like we’ve met our need for quality social contact and relationships
Whilst loneliness in itself isn’t a mental illness, the two go hand in hand as it can make you feel anxious or depressed or on the flip side, anxiety and depression can make feelings of loneliness worse.
Find out below the top 10 tips and tricks to combat feeling lonely at uni.
1. Speak Up About Your Feelings
You should speak to someone if you’re feeling lonely whether it’s your support network of friends and family at home or your partner, or even your university’s support team.
Whilst it can feel awkward or embarrassing sometimes to open up about the way we are feeling, it can do the world of good. It can help make sense of your situation and you’ll be able to understand your feelings better and get support for them.
When talking to a professional at uni about the way you’re feeling, take note that they probably hear similar stories from other uni students, so there will be similar people in your position.
The worst thing you can do is bottle up feelings and not speak to other people about them, and people at your university will be able to offer you some guidance with how to meet new people or keep yourself occupied whilst studying there!
2. Remember Friendships Take Time To Form
Real friendships take time to form, don’t be disheartened that you haven’t become the best of friends with people straight away especially when you consider we’re only at the beginning of the academic year.
If you’re feeling lonely because you haven’t really met anyone at uni that you connect to or feel that you have things in common with, then don’t worry. There’s still plenty of time to make some friends whether it’s meeting new people within your accommodation or on your course or even out and about.
Give yourself the chance to meet people before thinking that you’re all alone, it really is a process that just takes time!
3. Join Clubs & Societies
If you’re feeling lonely at uni another piece of advice we have for you is to join a club or society, not only will you have fun doing something you hopefully enjoy but you’ll also be surrounded by new people who you can make friends with!
There are so many societies and clubs which vary depending on which university you go to, it’s worth searching to see which ones you’d like to get involved with.
They can make you feel less isolated, and you’ll be able to make new memories with other people within the student community.
4. Keep Fit
Next up on our list of tips for feeling lonely at uni is to exercise and keep fit, as this can improve your mental and physical health. You don’t want to spend too much time in your room feeling down, this will leave you feeling more isolated.
We’re not saying you must run marathons, but even going the gym a few times a week or going for a run can release some endorphins and get you feeling better!
You never know, being out and about might introduce you to some new people too such as at the gym on campus – you never know!
5. Practice Self-Care
It’s so important to practice self-care and take care of yourself whilst at university, but it’s especially true if you’re feeling lonely. Loneliness can make you feel like you’re to blame for feeling this way and you’re alone out of your own fault, when you’re not!
There are many things you can do to help yourself feel better whether it’s practicing mindfulness, establishing a routine, jotting down your emotions within a diary or spending time to do things that you enjoy doing.
You should try to eat well and get 8 hours of sleep a night to help improve your mental and physical health. It will also be easier to socialise with people if you’re feeling more energetic!
6. Keep Yourself Busy
Similarly, to what we’ve just mentioned, if you’re feeling lonely at uni you should try to keep yourself busy so you’re not dwelling on your own too much.
Whether it’s finding new hobbies and interests to do or getting a part time job to earn some more money and meet new people. You could even take up some voluntary work or keep yourself focused on your studying.
Although, try not to focus all your time on your education as this can sometimes make people miss out on opportunities and experiences.
7. Stay In Touch With Family & Friends
Next up within our top tips and tricks for feeling lonely at uni is to stay in touch with your family and friends at home.
Whilst meeting new people and building new connections is a part of university life, you shouldn’t feel like you can’t keep regular contact with the existing relationships and friendships you have.
So, if you are feeling lonely why not reach out to those at home? Whether it’s a phone call or a video chat, we’re sure they’ll appreciate catching up just as much as you! You could even see if your friends in other towns or cities want to come up and visit, or you can go and visit them.
8. Manage Expectations
This is one of the most important things to remember if you are feeling lonely at uni, manage your expectations of student life.
What we mean by this, is to change your views on what it means to be at uni, it isn’t always a life of partying, meeting new people all the time and having tons of friends.
Sure, this does happen, but you shouldn’t feel like you’re the odd one out for feeling lonely and experiencing a different student experience to the one you imagined. So, try and be okay with your student life the way it is!
9. Be Careful With Comparing Yourself
Social media has a big role to play in this, and it’s something you should take with a pinch of salt whilst at university.
It’s easily done to experience feelings of FOMO (fear of missing out) and to compare yourself and your social life to other peoples, but you don’t know what is authentic.
They could be feeling similar to you, but their posts could show the opposite of them out having fun, you really don’t know what people are truly feeling or experiencing from their social media. So be careful when comparing yourself to others!
Although, social media does have its pros too when it comes to loneliness, as you can use online platforms to connect with people and find new opportunities. It’s about finding a middle ground!
10. Step Out Your Comfort Zone
Lastly within our guide of tips to help with feeling lonely at uni is stepping out of your comfort zone, to an extent.
You might feel like you’re stuck with the friendships you’ve made during your first few weeks, and you don’t feel like you’ve connected with certain people, so don’t feel like you have to stick with them.
You should try to broaden your horizons and get yourself out there to try and meet new people. It can feel scary to do things alone like showing up to student union events, but there will be other people in the exact same boat as you!
You’ll probably find that once you’ve started to do these things alone, the easier it will feel to carry on.
However, sometimes putting yourself out there and meeting other people isn’t the answer, like we mentioned earlier you can still feel lonely when you’re around others, which could be a sign of depression or social anxiety.
Our final thing to takeaway is that you should remember that different things work for different people, so whilst some may find these tips and tricks useful, others may not. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself if you are experiencing feelings of loneliness.
Please remember that we are not professionals so if you are struggling with loneliness at uni, reach out to someone if it’s getting too much whether it’s your GP, your University Support Team or your friends and family. Student Mind’s, the UK’s leading mental-health charity for students who offer some great resources on dealing with loneliness as a young person.
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