Mental Health University

Beating The Feeling Of Isolation As A Uni Student

To most people who are moving away from home to go to university, they are going to be leaving behind all of their old social groups and friends, and are going to have to acclimate to an entirely new environment. Beyond homesickness, this change can lead to real isolation and loneliness that can have quite an effect on our mental health. Here, we’re going to look at some of the ways you can address and beat the isolation. - www.channongray.com // heythereChannon
Written by Channon Gray

To most people who are moving away from home to go to university, they are going to be leaving behind all of their old social groups and friends, and are going to have to acclimate to an entirely new environment. Beyond homesickness, this change can lead to real isolation and loneliness that can have quite an effect on our mental health. Here, we’re going to look at some of the ways you can address and beat the isolation.

Don’t feel like you’re failing at uni

It’s something that goes through the mind of just about everyone who deals with loneliness, homesickness, or has any kind of trouble acclimating. “Am I failing? Am I worse at this than everyone else? Can I really do this?” However, the truth is that feeling lonely at university is a lot more common than you might think. In fact, the majority of students experience a period like this at some point or another. So, even if you’re feeling lonely, you’re not really alone. That said, it’s important to address it as isolation can develop into feelings of anxiety or depression ff not properly dealt with.

Hang out in shared spaces

The university and the accommodation you have are likely to have shared spaces you can use. On-campus, this may be the cafe, student union bar, and the like. At your accommodation, this may be a shared lounge or kitchen. Don’t be afraid to say hello to people that you see in these spaces, especially as they become more familiar over time. It’s important to be aware that most people at uni for the first time are dealing with the same kind of unfamiliarity and awkwardness as you are. Most of them would love to make friends, and just need a little help bridging that gap. As such, being the person to offer the first hand across that bridge might be a little scary but much more likely to succeed than you think.

Join a society

A lot of us aren’t able to easily make friends with just about anyone. We all have our own speeds and our own comfort levels and finding like-minded peers can make it a lot easier to feel comfortable striking up a conversation and getting to know someone. For instance, if you’re not into the uni party scene, you might have a little more trouble making friends initially. However, joining a local society is an easy way to find people who are more your speed. Whether you’re joining volunteering groups, cultural societies, athletic or sports groups, or whatever, you’re likely to find it on your campus or nearby.

Stay in touch with those back home

For a lot of people, feelings of isolation and homesickness are very much connected. Though it’s not a complete solution in and of itself, staying in touch with loved ones from back home can help a lot. You don’t want to get in touch too often to the point that you’re relying on them more than people in the environment around you, but a daily conversation or talking twice a day can be very therapeutic. Student plans from SMARTY make it a lot more affordable to actually get talking to them, rather than just sending instant messages, so that’s worth considering, as well. It’s not a failure to want to hear a familiar voice again.

Learn to enjoy your own company

There is no replacement for the relationships we build in life. However, if you’re feeling isolated even if you have friends and people you can talk to, then it might be time to learn how to be content with being alone as well. Find things to do on your own in the city such as exploring your local areas, going to museums, walking the parks, and so on. Learning to be able to have some semblance of peace when you’re alone isn’t a skill that everyone has immediately. If you’re a complete social butterfly, you may have never had to worry about being alone before. However, from university onwards, life gets a lot busier for everyone, so it’s important that being alone is no longer as big a worry for you.

Take care of your health

Our mental and emotional state can very much be affected by our physical state as well. For instance, exercise can release a bunch of positive neurotransmitters such as endorphins that can lead to an overall increase in your mood. Similarly, eating healthily can encourage a more positive mindset. Sleep is one of the most important emotional regulators of all. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body has a hard time restricting the production of cortisol. This hormone is largely responsible for the physical sensations of stress and anxiety. There are plenty of guides on how to live healthily even on a student budget so if you’re having trouble following any of the other tips here, then this is the first one you should start with.

Consider talking to someone

Again, this tip might sound like it’s fairly obvious, but it’s worth saying. If you’re feeling like your feelings of isolation are starting to become an everyday occurrence or that you might be dealing with anxiety, depression, or other emotional health issues, you should consider talking to someone more qualified to help you deal with them. Most universities have some sort of counselling service on offer and this is precisely the kind of case that it’s here for. Otherwise, you might want to consider reaching out to call a helpline such as turn2me. For some people, the ability to stay anonymous while talking through their problems can get rid of a lot of the stigma and pressure that stops them from addressing what’s wrong.

 

The isolation we might feel at university might dawn on us even if we have friends there, and even if we keep in touch with old connections. There’s nothing “wrong” about feeling lonely even if you have people around you. It’s still a valid feeling and one that’s worth addressing.

About the author

Channon Gray

I'm Channon and yes, it's spelt wrong, but that is interesting right? I'm 23 years young. I like to write, create art and travel. Cornish bumpkin who studied in London then Cambridge. I'm now a Postgraduate Student, Stationery Addict and all-round Life Enthusiast.

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