Advice about loneliness

Student life is often exciting and full of new experiences and new contacts. But it also requires that you take the initiative to create study routines, shape your everyday life and find friends to spend time with. In the midst of everything it is possible to feel a bit left out. Perhaps you are studying for an exam, beginning to doubt yourself or feeling worse in general.

It takes time to adjust to a new city, new friends and student life. Even if you are surrounded by people, it is possible to feel alone. How we experience loneliness depends largely on our previous experiences in life. If we have felt like we have been seen or loved as a child, loneliness takes on a different quality. We do not prone to think that there is something wrong with us.

Talk to others who you trust about how you feel, then organise and process your thoughts. Just talking about your feeling with others can help to make you feel less alone.

Meet others who share your interests or are in the same situation that you are. Join and become active in student associations, unions, nations or clubs. If you have begun studying, much of your life is based upon achievement - but you are so much more than that. Make sure you maintain or develop hobbies and create a social life that suits you.

Ask others if they would like to do things together. Not everyone wants to do the same things, but it is better to ask! Don't let fear control you - see new situations as opportunities for you to learn new things. If you continually shy away from situations which may make you anxious, you will become more and more controlled by it and lose out on new experiences. The anxiety will continue to grow and dominate if you let it. If it difficult to talk to new people, don't focus on how you feel or how others may perceive you, but focus outwards. Think about who you would like to meet and the type of people you think are interesting and would like to get to know.

Choose to be alone sometimes! Remind yourself that you need to calm down, forget about all the expectations and be yourself. Get to know your own voice and who you are. Fear of loneliness could actually be a fear of getting to know yourself. In order to have good relationships with others you need to have a solid relationship with yourself.

If you are very shy and don't feel comfortable meeting others, you can come across as aloof and others may not ask you to do things with them. You might see this as a confirmation that nobody wants to spend time with you rather than realise that it is based upon signals of disinterest which you have sent out.

Be your own best friend - be encouraging and supportive when you feel lonely or dejected. Treat yourself the same way you would treat a friend who feels alone.

Seek professional help! If your loneliness is becoming very painful or scary, seek assistance. There may be unprocessed traumatic experiences that pop up when you alone which may feel overwhelming. You can also seek help if you notice that you are having difficulty understanding social cues. Not everyone is born with good social skills or had the right training while growing up.

Advice and support

Get in touch with the Student Health Centre if you would like advice or individual support.