How to combat loneliness at university
Loneliness can affect anyone.
Frankenstein’s monster said, “When I looked around I saw and heard of none like me.” Anyone who’s read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein will know too well the affect loneliness can have on the human psyche. Loneliness can cause anxiety, depression, stress; often these are results of feeling alienated and isolated.
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Attending university for the first time can be a daunting experience; especially when moving to a different country and you speak a different language. There are numerous causes of loneliness and lots of precautions students' can take to prevent or combat loneliness. A few of the ways you can combat loneliness are:
Talk to people
According to Victoria Woollaston, a scientific study in California proved that talking to another person about our feelings relieves stress. Not only that, talking to others helps you to interact, make friends and realise you’re not alone. It is difficult when you don’t know anyone, but the best place to start is in the classroom with open questions: what is your favourite book? Which optional modules did you pick? How long does it take you to commute to university? Before you know you’ll be saying hello to people in the library, talking to people in the lift about the weather and making awful jokes with leading academics. If you would like to talk to someone on a one-to-one basis, most universities will have a professional counselling team available. You can find out about counselling services in Birmingham City University by visiting their website or visit the ASK desk on the first floor in the Curzon building to make an appointment.
Join a society
Every university will have a Students' Union; joining a Students' Union society is an opportunity to make friends. You will find a list of all the societies in Birmingham City University here.
Get a part time job
When you're employed you become part of an employment network which will empower you to talk to people. Whether it means talking to co-workers, employers, students’; it can boost your confidence and force you to come out of your shell. You’ll find part time employment opportunities on your Students' Union website, your universities website and other job sites.
Join a social networking site
Meetup is an online site which has a group for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a walking group, cycling, book club, pub crawlers or LGBT; you’ll find it on Meetup. It’s a great way to meet new people and keep active.
Join a community group
Community groups work in a similar way to meet up but are not online. They hold regular events such as: debating groups, book clubs, yoga and they’re all free.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Did you not get that 2:1 or that first? Did you have to miss a lecture? None of us are perfect and if you don’t get the grades you want there’s always time to improve. Speak to your personal tutor for guidance, speak to your seminar tutors in office hours and don’t be afraid to seek support. All universities will have a centre dedicated to academic support, with qualified tutors available to read your work. You can find more information for Birmingham City University’s centre for academic support here.
University is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Grab it, embrace it and enjoy the ride.