What to do if you feel lonely at university

What to do if you feel lonely at university

Loneliness among students is much more common than you would expect. New research found that nearly 1 in 4 students felt lonely “most or all of the time”. This is roughly five times worse than it is in the general population, in which 1 in 20 people said they felt a similar level of loneliness. That is a worrying amount. So, what could be causing this? Well, there are a number of different factors. It may be that you’re struggling to make new friends, struggling with moving away from home or struggling to adjust to a new environment. There are a number of different things you can do to deal with these feelings, and that’s where I come in. Here are some tips on what to do if you feel lonely at university.

Set realistic goals

What to do if you feel lonely at university
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The most important thing to take into account. Talking to people can be difficult, so making small, realistic goals will make it feel a lot easier. For instance, you could set yourself a goal of talking to someone new at each lecture or seminar. Alternatively, you could challenge yourself to go to one or two social events a week. Pushing yourself can be a good thing, but knowing your limits is more important. Start slow, then if you start to feel more confident and self-assured, you can increase this as and when you see fit. It’s a way of getting started. 

Join a society or club

university societies and clubs
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Universities have so many clubs and societies, so if you’re feeling lonely at university, this could be the perfect solution. There are many different options tailored to different interests, from bands and orchestras to sports teams. This can be a perfect way to start talking to people, as everyone there will have a shared interest, giving you something to talk about without it feeling too awkward. A great way to broaden your social circle and meet people from across the university that you may not necessarily meet in halls or on your course. 

For more reading, check out our list of the 10 weirdest university societies in the UK.

Stay in touch with family and friends

What to do if you feel lonely at university
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Seems like an obvious thing, but if you feel lonely at uni because you miss your family and friends, keep in touch with them! While it may not be financially or logistically feasible to visit regularly, texting or calling regularly allows you to keep in contact and stay close to them, even if you are miles apart. Establishing some sort of routine will give you structure, which uni life doesn’t often have.

Believe in yourself

And finally, the most important thing you can do if you’re feeling lonely at university is to believe in yourself! It can be difficult to start socialising, but if you feel confident in yourself, then it’s a lot better. That’s exactly what I did. The first couple of days after I had moved into halls my first year, I didn’t talk to anyone. Then, one day, after one of my induction things for my course, I decided to talk to the group that was sitting in the courtyard outside our accommodation. Those people turned into my closest friends and I’m so happy that I decided to force myself into talking to them. See, believing in yourself works! 

So, there you have it. Here is some advice on what to do if you feel lonely at university. What works will differ for everyone, so it’s good to figure out what works for you. But, the most important thing that I can not stress enough is that if you feel like you need to talk to someone about your feelings of loneliness, then people are there for you. Could be a family member, could be a counsellor at your university’s health service, could be through a charity. If you need to talk, there are people who can and will listen. You’re not alone.

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