The Student Room Group

Loneliness at uni

Hi, I’ve been having mixed feelings about uni, and I just wanted to know if anyone else has gone through similar experiences and how they overcame it. I started uni in September and I’ve been enjoying it enough - I’ve joined a few societies that I really enjoy, and I like my course a lot. My flatmates are nice and I feel like I get along with them well enough. A few of the girls and I are looking to get a house together next year.

I just feel really lonely most of the time, especially at night as I prefer to stay in than go out, and i’m struggling to find the same general happiness I had when I was at home. I don’t feel like i’m the person I normally am and like I just lack the energy and excitement I had at home. The thing is that I have times when I really do love being at uni, but I also spend lots of the time feeling lonely and just generally unhappy and not myself. I know it takes time to settle in, and I can’t expect everything to be perfect from day 1, but i’m really finding it difficult to deal with the loneliness. I want to enjoy uni, and i’m comfortable with my lifestyle, even if it doesn’t exactly conform to the stereotypical student one of clubbing everyday etc. but I’m having a lot harder of a time than I anticipated with fitting in and being away from home and my Mum.

To anyone who’s been in the same situation, how did it get better? Did you just trust the process and things worked themselves out, or did you do anything in particular? Thanks for any help or kind words, I really do appreciate it.
Original post by Anonymous
Hi, I’ve been having mixed feelings about uni, and I just wanted to know if anyone else has gone through similar experiences and how they overcame it. I started uni in September and I’ve been enjoying it enough - I’ve joined a few societies that I really enjoy, and I like my course a lot. My flatmates are nice and I feel like I get along with them well enough. A few of the girls and I are looking to get a house together next year.

I just feel really lonely most of the time, especially at night as I prefer to stay in than go out, and i’m struggling to find the same general happiness I had when I was at home. I don’t feel like i’m the person I normally am and like I just lack the energy and excitement I had at home. The thing is that I have times when I really do love being at uni, but I also spend lots of the time feeling lonely and just generally unhappy and not myself. I know it takes time to settle in, and I can’t expect everything to be perfect from day 1, but i’m really finding it difficult to deal with the loneliness. I want to enjoy uni, and i’m comfortable with my lifestyle, even if it doesn’t exactly conform to the stereotypical student one of clubbing everyday etc. but I’m having a lot harder of a time than I anticipated with fitting in and being away from home and my Mum.

To anyone who’s been in the same situation, how did it get better? Did you just trust the process and things worked themselves out, or did you do anything in particular? Thanks for any help or kind words, I really do appreciate it.

Hey,

I'm sorry you're feeling like this, I definitely had similar feelings in the first year so can relate to how you feel. I think, like you said, even with friends around you all the time it takes quite a while to settle into the routine of living away from home. I always found I felt completely fine until I shut myself away at night, so even if you're not going out, maybe try and ask one/some of your flatmates to spend a bit of time with you in the evening. That could literally just be chilling and watching films or even just being in the same room and doing your own thing. I found those little things helped me and my flatmates bond massively and curbed some of the feelings of loneliness. Hopefully, if you were to reach out to others, they would be understanding of your situation and maybe offer to spend some time with you like this. I'd also say spending maximum time in the communal areas of your flat like the kitchen. Then by the time you do go off to your room and you're alone, maybe you'd feel a bit better. :smile:

It sounds cliche but the other thing I found which helped was learning to enjoy my own company. I used to take myself on a little morning walk to the shop/just around and then would come back and have breakfast. Or in the evening, I set some time aside to watch a show I've been wanting to watch (or something like that) and change my perspective to see it more as enjoying my alone time rather than feeling lonely. I know it's not as simple as that, but those little changes over time and trying to think more positively about my feelings of loneliness really helped shift my attitude. It's definitely a long journey to get comfortable living alone and away from home but I hope you'll feel better about it all soon. :h:

I hope this helped a little bit!

Natalie
University of Kent Student Rep (2nd year PhD Psychology)
Original post by Anonymous
Hi, I’ve been having mixed feelings about uni, and I just wanted to know if anyone else has gone through similar experiences and how they overcame it. I started uni in September and I’ve been enjoying it enough - I’ve joined a few societies that I really enjoy, and I like my course a lot. My flatmates are nice and I feel like I get along with them well enough. A few of the girls and I are looking to get a house together next year.

I just feel really lonely most of the time, especially at night as I prefer to stay in than go out, and i’m struggling to find the same general happiness I had when I was at home. I don’t feel like i’m the person I normally am and like I just lack the energy and excitement I had at home. The thing is that I have times when I really do love being at uni, but I also spend lots of the time feeling lonely and just generally unhappy and not myself. I know it takes time to settle in, and I can’t expect everything to be perfect from day 1, but i’m really finding it difficult to deal with the loneliness. I want to enjoy uni, and i’m comfortable with my lifestyle, even if it doesn’t exactly conform to the stereotypical student one of clubbing everyday etc. but I’m having a lot harder of a time than I anticipated with fitting in and being away from home and my Mum.

To anyone who’s been in the same situation, how did it get better? Did you just trust the process and things worked themselves out, or did you do anything in particular? Thanks for any help or kind words, I really do appreciate it.

Hi,

I'm sorry to hear that you're feeling like this but I want to assure you that this is a completely natural feeling, especially at the very start of your university journey. Moving away from home, is always going to be a daunting task and to feel lonely or homesick is completely normal. I know during my first few weeks in university, I used to feel lonely a lot of the time, especially after we'd all head to our bedrooms to go to bed for the night. It used to feel like it was me on my own in this big city but after a few months, everything became a lot easier.

Simple things that my flatmates and I used to do were playing board games or card games in the kitchen after we had all had dinner as it helped us all get to know each other a lot better and we also always laughed while playing. Other simple things like asking if anyone wants to join you for a walk in the evenings or go to the gym together will all help you feel less lonely.

I'm a third year now, and although loneliness or homesickness sometimes comes up, I know I'm happy here with my friends and having little events to look forward to like going for a coffee with a friend or going on a day out together always help put the loneliness to bay.

I hope this helps out a little and that some of these tips will help with the loneliness. It may seem difficult right now but it does get easier!

Mary

London South Bank University Student Rep (3rd-year Children's Nursing)
Original post by Anonymous
Hi, I’ve been having mixed feelings about uni, and I just wanted to know if anyone else has gone through similar experiences and how they overcame it. I started uni in September and I’ve been enjoying it enough - I’ve joined a few societies that I really enjoy, and I like my course a lot. My flatmates are nice and I feel like I get along with them well enough. A few of the girls and I are looking to get a house together next year.

I just feel really lonely most of the time, especially at night as I prefer to stay in than go out, and i’m struggling to find the same general happiness I had when I was at home. I don’t feel like i’m the person I normally am and like I just lack the energy and excitement I had at home. The thing is that I have times when I really do love being at uni, but I also spend lots of the time feeling lonely and just generally unhappy and not myself. I know it takes time to settle in, and I can’t expect everything to be perfect from day 1, but i’m really finding it difficult to deal with the loneliness. I want to enjoy uni, and i’m comfortable with my lifestyle, even if it doesn’t exactly conform to the stereotypical student one of clubbing everyday etc. but I’m having a lot harder of a time than I anticipated with fitting in and being away from home and my Mum.

To anyone who’s been in the same situation, how did it get better? Did you just trust the process and things worked themselves out, or did you do anything in particular? Thanks for any help or kind words, I really do appreciate it.

Hiya,

What you've described is basically how I felt during first term of first year, so don't feel like you're alone in this. Firstly, If you're comfortable doing it, I would suggest reaching out to University welfare or college welfare (If you're in a collegiate university). I know it can be very uncomfortable and daunting but they are there to help and support you especially as a fresher coming to Uni for the first time.

Something I learned during my first year is you have to become comfortable with being alone before becoming comfortable with other people, and being alone and being lonely are not synonymous with each other. It sounds like you're fine with being around other people/making friends but when it comes to time for yourself you feel lonely, which is very normal. During first term of first year, I mainly stayed in whilst my friends and flatmates went out clubbing and I always felt lonely and sometimes even regretting not joining them even though I know I won't enjoy clubbing. I just wanted to be around people and friends instead of alone. What really helped me was planning and doing things by myself/for myself, in essence, become my own friend. I went out for meals by myself even though I could've with a friend, and that really helped me become comfortable with myself. I planned days for myself and I essentially did things for myself like going to the cinema or hanging out at cafe and just doing things that make me happy. Gradually it got better and now I actually enjoy being alone and doing things by myself and I never feel lonely if I'm sat at home by myself or having lunch by myself.

It's definitely a gradual process and sometimes things sort themselves out without you taking the initiative and sometimes you need to take the first step. But I will say, things will get better as time goes on, even if right now things aren't looking good.

I wish you the best of luck and I hope this helps in some way :smile:

-Ghala
(Official DU Rep)
Reply 4
Thank you all for your advice and kind words, it’s definitely reassuring to know that other people felt like this but things turned out fine. I think I’ll try to spend more of my evenings in the kitchen even if it’s just doing work in there to hopefully be able to chat to people more. A few of my flatmates like going to the gym but we all go at different times so maybe I’ll try to fit in with their schedules better and go together😊 I’ll try to be a better friend to myself too, I like the idea of taking myself on little dates/having specific me time when my friends and flatmates are out clubbing so I won’t feel so alone or like I’m missing out. I really appreciate all your kind words, I’m feeling much more secure already so thank you all!
Original post by Anonymous
Hi, I’ve been having mixed feelings about uni, and I just wanted to know if anyone else has gone through similar experiences and how they overcame it. I started uni in September and I’ve been enjoying it enough - I’ve joined a few societies that I really enjoy, and I like my course a lot. My flatmates are nice and I feel like I get along with them well enough. A few of the girls and I are looking to get a house together next year.

I just feel really lonely most of the time, especially at night as I prefer to stay in than go out, and i’m struggling to find the same general happiness I had when I was at home. I don’t feel like i’m the person I normally am and like I just lack the energy and excitement I had at home. The thing is that I have times when I really do love being at uni, but I also spend lots of the time feeling lonely and just generally unhappy and not myself. I know it takes time to settle in, and I can’t expect everything to be perfect from day 1, but i’m really finding it difficult to deal with the loneliness. I want to enjoy uni, and i’m comfortable with my lifestyle, even if it doesn’t exactly conform to the stereotypical student one of clubbing everyday etc. but I’m having a lot harder of a time than I anticipated with fitting in and being away from home and my Mum.

To anyone who’s been in the same situation, how did it get better? Did you just trust the process and things worked themselves out, or did you do anything in particular? Thanks for any help or kind words, I really do appreciate it.

Hi there

Sorry to hear you're feeling low at the moment.

All of the above replies have some great advice.

Sometimes I can feel a bit lonely even when I have all my friends at uni around me. It's weird becasue I'm not on my own in the slightest but I can still feel lonely. I think too that I separate my uni life and my life back home a lot so that makes me miss my life at home when I'm here at uni.

But, there are a few things I like to do when I feel like this.

1. Call someone from home. This is usually my parents, but anyone you like talking to is great. It reminds me that I still have someone there even though they're not at uni with me.

2. Try out some random hobby or skill. Sometimes all my uni work and seeing my flat mates can be overwhelming and you want some alone time. But then this can make you feel lonely. So, I like to pick out a random activity - usually from Pinterest - and just have a go! Then I'm distracting myself from how I'm feeling and relaxing my brain from all the uni work I've been doing. Crochet has become my new fave hobby!

Try to remember that you're not alone at uni, and there will be times when these feelings will go away, and others when they may feel stronger. But you've got this, and the above advice from other students is also really great to hopefully put your mind at ease.

Hope things start to pick up for you.
Emily
Student Ambassador at BCU
Original post by Anonymous
Thank you all for your advice and kind words, it’s definitely reassuring to know that other people felt like this but things turned out fine. I think I’ll try to spend more of my evenings in the kitchen even if it’s just doing work in there to hopefully be able to chat to people more. A few of my flatmates like going to the gym but we all go at different times so maybe I’ll try to fit in with their schedules better and go together😊 I’ll try to be a better friend to myself too, I like the idea of taking myself on little dates/having specific me time when my friends and flatmates are out clubbing so I won’t feel so alone or like I’m missing out. I really appreciate all your kind words, I’m feeling much more secure already so thank you all!

Hey,

That's amazing, I'm so glad to hear you feel at ease :h:

Those little things definitely helped me so I really hope things start to feel better for you too! It's perfectly normal to feel how you feel but a few positive adjustments will hopefully make things better in the long run!

Natalie
University of Kent Student Rep (2nd year PhD Psychology)
(edited 6 months ago)
Original post by Anonymous
Hi, I’ve been having mixed feelings about uni, and I just wanted to know if anyone else has gone through similar experiences and how they overcame it. I started uni in September and I’ve been enjoying it enough - I’ve joined a few societies that I really enjoy, and I like my course a lot. My flatmates are nice and I feel like I get along with them well enough. A few of the girls and I are looking to get a house together next year.

I just feel really lonely most of the time, especially at night as I prefer to stay in than go out, and i’m struggling to find the same general happiness I had when I was at home. I don’t feel like i’m the person I normally am and like I just lack the energy and excitement I had at home. The thing is that I have times when I really do love being at uni, but I also spend lots of the time feeling lonely and just generally unhappy and not myself. I know it takes time to settle in, and I can’t expect everything to be perfect from day 1, but i’m really finding it difficult to deal with the loneliness. I want to enjoy uni, and i’m comfortable with my lifestyle, even if it doesn’t exactly conform to the stereotypical student one of clubbing everyday etc. but I’m having a lot harder of a time than I anticipated with fitting in and being away from home and my Mum.

To anyone who’s been in the same situation, how did it get better? Did you just trust the process and things worked themselves out, or did you do anything in particular? Thanks for any help or kind words, I really do appreciate it.

Hey there!

Sorry to hear you've been feeling like this. You're in a great position with the friends you have and the fact you have housemates lined up for next year. That doesn't always necessarily mean that the loneliness isn't there though. You could have all the friends in the world but at the end of the day you might still feel lonely. Do you feel this way when you're at home? If not, my advice to you is to bring some home comforts into university. Is there things that make you feel great at home that you could implement at uni? For me, this was bringing in some home cooked meals. I'd take an hour out of my evening to cook things exactly how my mum would so that I'd feel more at home. That way you have something to do with your evening as well. Just bringing in the little things can really help you to settle in and make university feel more homely.

My other piece of advice to you is to find your thing. Sure this might not come to you in the first week of university but over time it's so important to find something you like to do with your time. If you make your days jam-packed and busy, you'll appreciate your evenings of just sitting and chilling out a lot more. I didn't find my hobby until late first year/going into second year but I slowly fell in love with going to the gym and keeping active. Sure societies are great for providing you with something to do but you need to find something you enjoy doing by yourself to start enjoying your own company and that's the key to defeating loneliness at university. Whether it be that you start trying new things out to see what sticks or just going with something you've always wanted to do, bringing something new in can help structure your days a bit more and always gives you something to do. Even something so simple like initially, I took myself out for a walk through the park once a day for the first few weeks so I had something to do.

Hope this helped!
Lucy - Digital Student Ambassador SHU

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