Loneliness at University

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Last Tuesday was the day I started back lectures. I had lectures Tuesday, Wednesday (missing Wednesdays due to being ill) and Thursday. It felt great to be back but there was an impending doom that second year is going to be a lot more work that I expected. However, during this weekend I’ve spent my time heading back to The Student Room to help other students indeed as they’ve been starting university and it’s fair to say I’ve seen a common theme arising.

The arising theme that I am talking about is the impending feeling that everybody starting out is first year is having this strange sense of loneliness. I use the word ‘everybody’ but this purely relates to the users of The Student Room from which I have encountered. To be honest, it’s been around 50% of all the posts that I’ve answered so yes, I’m being hyperbolic. However, you may not use the room and be having the same feeling of loneliness. Whether it be in your halls, on your course, being away from your family and so on and so fourth. Let’s see what I can cover!

From what I can remember this feeling of loneliness is broken down into areas, these areas are as follows:

  • Feeling lonely in halls. (Be it through a detachment to your flatmates).
  • Feeling lonely on your course. (You may feel like everybody on your course made friends pretty effortlessly and now you are just alone).
  • Feeling lonely being away from home. (I’ve covered this topic before but I want to cover it again, it’s perfectly normal to feel home sick).

I honestly believed there more areas than that, ah well! We’ll cover the ones we’ve got.

Feeling Lonely in Halls (Through Detachment to Flatmates)

Now this one isn’t all uncommon. Especially not from what I’ve read on The Student Room. I think it’s important to note that sometimes people just aren’t kindred spirits. The university aren’t taking personality tests to see who fits best together and what not, it’s just random and hence you end up with a bunch of people you don’t feel like you can’t relate too. Again, this isn’t uncommon. You aren’t going to be able to relate to everything somebody says – it’s just unfortunate you are in a flat where you can’t seem to bond with your flatmates. By this unfortunate situation, you are left feeling lonely.

The situations I’ve heard are varied. Sometimes people just don’t like drinking (which we’ve already established is perfectly fine) and when their flatmates keep repeatedly asking them to come out and they keep responding ‘no’, it gets to a point where it feels as though the fellow flatmates have ‘given up’. Now you can see both sides to this argument (at least I can). You have the flatmate that isn’t big of drinking so doesn’t see the appeal of a night out clubbing, where as the flat wants them to come out to bond with them as they feel they haven’t done much of that. When both sides keep getting turned down you hit a stale mate where the flat thinks they aren’t going to bother if they keep getting the same answer and the flatmate thinking they are lonely. Now before someone kicks off I do understand that some flatmates can be pushy to the point of peer pressure (which no one wants) and if this is the case then you’d feel really uncomfortable going out and I know that sometimes the flatmate in question can just be really anti-social etc. This can be broken down into many different personality types and situations but the point still stands, SOMETHING can happen to make it feel as though you and your flatmates have a detachment which in the long run leads you to being stuck up in your room whilst they are out in the corridors having fun and it makes you feel lonely.

Solution: Let’s just make this clear that my solution may not work for everybody and to be honest, I’m not really saying it is a sure, tried & tested way of being a solution, therefore, it’s more of a suggestion. If you find yourself in this state where you are sitting in your room alone and not doing much with your flat, question this first. ‘Have you made an honest effort to try talk/bond with them?’, if yes and it’s gone no where then maybe you have to ask yourself ‘are they kind of people I want to be friends with? Or should I put this feeling behind me and carry on with other friends’ and so on, so fourth. Does that make sense? Sometimes you’ve got to accept that not everybody is compatiable and you can’t make friends with everybody. On the other hand, if your answer to the first question is ‘no’ then there you go, if you haven’t tried your hardest, why should you expect them too? It has to be equal effort from all sides, maybe with the expection of one person starting everybody else off. Maybe try going into your communial areas? Hanging out with flatmates? Knocking on peoples doors and asking if they want to watch TV or if they’d like to share your dinner with you, or help you cook and go out to the SU or something. I don’t know, be creative! Just try and they’ll try with you – if not, there’s your answer. BUT. Don’t worry, they are still friends to be made else where.

Small Disclaimer: I do understand that some people suffer from social anxiety or other health problems or other situations like these, I’ve advised in small on TSR but it’s not my place to make big situations into something I’m not entirely certain of.

Feeling Lonely on Your Course 

Now this one. So, you’ve started your course in first year and over the past couple of weeks (or days – however long you’ve been attending your course for) you’ve noticed that you always seem to be sat alone or not really interacting with anybody when most others on your course seem to be walking in with people, chatting and having somebody to natter too during the course of your lectures. Again I understand that everybodys lectures are different, e.g. I’m on a drama course so therefore there is very little sitting down so it’s hard not to know everyone and make at least one friend.

Firstly you have to realise that some people will have the rare chance of making friends with people on the course because they live in their halls, therefore, they can walk together to lectures and more than likely spent freshers getting close. Others have been to freshers and other social events and made friends there. Then on the opening days of the course they probably just talked to people in a polite way and it took off from there.

After reading that, you may be sitting there questioning where you went wrong. You could be telling yourself that you did a lot of those things yet you are still sitting in your lectures feeling lonely. Again, and I can’t repeat this enough, not everybody is made to be friends. Some friendships just aren’t meant to be and one things for certain, university brings together a lot of different people. You have three years on your course and it’s very unlikely that you’ll go through all those years without making any friends at all.

Solution: Again, not really a solution as more of a suggestion. When going to your lectures, sit down near people when there is a spare sit. Spark up some random general conversation: “Hello, my name is ‘        ‘, How’re you? We haven’t spoke before, have we? How are you finding the course?” and on and on and on. Spark a conversation and if it’s made to be, it’ll just carry on naturally and then you can lead into inviting people on your course out for drinks and so on. It can be done, it is possible. Have a little faith in yourself and others. Everybody is always up for a good ol’ chin wag… unless it’s a 9am lecture and everybody is in zombie form, STAY CLEAR.

Feeling Lonely Being Away From Home

Where can I start with this one? I have covered this before in a later article which you can find somewhere on my website… it is there, I swear. Feeling lonely when moving away to university is completely natural. Look at the facts, you’ve moved away from friends and family that you’ve spent nearly every day together since you were born. You’ve (more than likely) moved away from the village/town/city in which you grew up in and are in an entirely new place that you don’t know. You are studying a subject through lecturers you’ve never met before, this is the first time meeting them, you are surrounded by people in the same boat as you, all new and fresh faced. You are living by yourself and having to look after yourself in a way you’ve never really done before. All these facts add up to why it’s completely natural to have a break down when moving to university and being ‘alone’ for the first time because when you first move in, you are in essence, ‘alone’. Alone from what you know. After the first couple of days, everybody has at least made one friend, I hope.

You’re at university in your first few weeks and you are starting to feel home sick. You are lonely, you just want your parents to be there with you. Not then any teenager spends a lot of time with their parents, but there is comfort knowing they are close to you. The list is endless that all boils down to this feeling of loneliness.

Solution: Again, more of a suggestion than anything else. If you are feeling lonely and it’s plassuable, GO HOME! Get a train, a bus, a ride with a friend, a bloody plane if you have too. It isn’t illegal to go see your parents whilst at university, so pop and see them for the weekend. Like I said, if it’s possible, do it. Yes, I understand for a vast majority of people that they can’t get home, but like I said, only if possible. At the same time, for all students, if you are feeling this way, CALL THEM DAILY. Again, not illegal. If you need to call your parents every day, do it. I do? There is no shame in keeping in contact with everything going on back home and after a good conversation with your parents, it makes you feel a hundred times better.

And there we go. A little list of the most common situations I’ve encountered to do with feeling lonely at university and my break down of them, as well as a solution (basically a suggestion) on how to deal with it. 


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