There are many opinions on what university is like, the general consensus being that it’s one big adventure. This isn’t un-true, but for a lot of people, going away to university can prove to be a lot tougher than they imagined. This isn’t because the work is too difficult or they can hear their flatmate snoring through the walls every night, the real challenge can be looking after your mental well-being.
Loneliness doesn’t always mean not being around people, it can mean feeling like you don’t belong, which is bound to happen in a brand new place full of new opportunities and people, like university. It can be so easy to overlook how the little things in your life, like establishing a routine, can effect the larger things, like your work and well-being. Nothing is the be all or end all and there is always a solution:
Ask For Help
Yes, I know, it’s already been plastered all over social media and ad campaigns that you shouldn’t be afraid of asking for help. But for a lot of people, it is incredibly daunting and can feel like a knock to your pride. But if you feel like you’re unable to cope, are unsure of whether you’re doing the best that you can for yourself or simply need someone to talk to, it’s extremely important.
If you’re worried about asking for help because you feel like you’re losing control of your own situation, be selective. Not everyone is going to give you the best advice, and by being selective in who you talk to, you’re not only in control but you can separate this part of your life from others. For example, by speaking to a university counselor you can be confident that what you’re saying is confidential; and the advice is unbiased.
If you have a trusted friend or family member that you’re able to talk to and think that would help, that’s great as well. However, it’s important to make sure you’re able to have face to face conversations, it can be so tempting to pretend that everything’s okay over the phone!
Click here for the University of Liverpool counselling service and self help guides.
Join A Society
Joining a society can be the best way to make friends at university as they attract like-minded people. Among other things, it can also establish a routine outside of lectures, especially if you have less contact hours for your subject. Remember to be open-minded, not everyone you meet will be someone you would usually get along with, it’s a good thing.
There are loads of societies to choose from, including your subject, so there’s really no excuse not to! If you already play sport and want to carry on at university then be sure to get on board as soon as possible! For other societies, it’s a little more relaxed, but the sooner you join up the better.
You can find a list of the societies available here but be sure to speak to members of the society during the Fresher’s Fair!
Establish A Routine
During fresher’s week this is probably going to be impossible, but after that it’s important to establish some kind of routine into your day-to-day life. This doesn’t necessarily mean sticking to a strict regime, it could be something small such as always doing a food shop on a Monday, or always going to the gym a few set days a week. Little steps like these can really impact your outlook on life, if you’ve got the small things organised, then it gives you so much more room to focus on what really matters.
This is one of the trickiest things to stick to because there’ll be no one to nag you if you haven’t done something on time! But if you’re feeling down, you need to ask yourself: when was the last time I had a proper meal? Have I had a good night sleep? Have I done as much exercise as I normally would? Am I worried about a deadline that I haven’t given myself enough time for? Then you probably need to work on your routine.
Have a look at what Sport Liverpool has to offer, and buy yourself a giant calendar!
Go To Events
There is so much going on during the first few weeks of university, from nights out to events at the Guild, there will always be something to do. Nights out are a great way to spend time with your new flat or course mates, but it’s important to do things together sober as well! The Fresher’s Fair is a great start as you can sign up to societies with others or go alone and meet new people who are doing the same thing.
Facebook is a great resource for finding out about events in Liverpool, have a search around and see what kind of events are happening. Like society pages on Facebook and keep up to date with the guild website!
Take A Break
Sometimes the best cure for feeling low and lonely at university is just to go home for a while. I’m not suggesting you miss lectures, but a home-visit during reading weeks, the holidays and the odd weekend can do a world of good. It gives you a chance to clear your head, in some cases even to just have a break from the mad rush of first year and allow yourself to be looked after for a while.
Use your time at home to organize things that you may not have had time to during university, like going to the dentist or getting a haircut. They are small things individually, but built up they can become a cause of worry and concern, which can distract you from keeping your cool at university. If you’re home is a train ride away, be sure to get a 16-25 railcard to get tickets much cheaper.
Everyone is different and everyone can experience loneliness and/or feeling low in a variety of ways, the most important thing you can do is recognise your own habits and feelings in order to help yourself. This way you can really make the most of your university experience.