How to Avoid Loneliness at University

You’re surrounded by thousands of other students, but with family far away and deadlines often banishing students to the isolation of their rooms, university can quickly become a lonely place. It can sometimes be difficult to get out of this corner but there are many ways of staving off loneliness and boosting meaningful social interaction.

By Jordan Osborne – MA in Creative Writing at The University of Portsmouth


Join a club or society

The most damaging stereotype of university life is the pressure to go out to nightclubs and drink on a regular basis. You don’t have to buy into this mindset to fit in at university. If you feel comfortable doing it, then by all means go out and have a responsible night out on the town but if that isn’t your scene, there are plenty of ways to meet new people and be sociable without drinking or clubbing. Seek out your students’ union if you’re struggling as they provide the bridge between the committees that run university clubs and societies and the students looking to get involved. Clubs and societies will often run weekly activities and have casual socials. It’s a great way to safely and comfortably meet fellow students.

Plan ahead and take time out

A good way to make space for a healthy social life at university is to keep on top of your work and do it with plenty of time to spare. There’s nothing worse than seeing your workload pile up and  realising that your foreseeable future will either be spent in your room or the library. Planning your work timetable whilst allowing some free time to socialise is a good way of balancing work and play and ensuring that you don’t lose touch with any of the new friends you’ve made over the course of a semester.

Don't be afraid to branch out

It can be tempting to latch onto people that you’ve met during freshers or met in class because you think that there isn’t anyone else out there. However, loneliness can creep in if you find yourself trapped amongst friends that don’t understand you or that you don’t really connect with. It may seem counterintuitive to leave behind a stable group of friends in search of better ones, but if you make new friends that support you better and that you like more rather than just settling, your mental state will be all the better for it. You may only be at university for three years and you don’t want to waste one of the best times of your life with people that you probably won’t stay in touch with after you graduate.

Turn up to class

Everyone has those days. The alarm goes off and we can’t summon the strength to face the world, let alone a face-melting lecture on Jacques Derrida and deconstruction. But the fact is lectures and seminars are a great opportunity for some social interaction and to meet some new faces. Seminars in particular are good for meeting new people. Class discussion and group projects will make talking to people much easier and obviously being in an environment with people that have common goals and interests will make that process less daunting.

Try and get out when you can - whether it's for sociability or studying

When deadlines sneak up on us, it’s very easy to become reclusive. The pressure to succeed leads us to prioritise our work and neglect every other aspect of our lives. However, deadlines and the stress that is synonymous with them is one of the few components of university life that 100% of students can relate to. So instead of suffering alone, round up your pals for a group library session. It’s a great way to curb that study-induced isolation and you’ll feel naturally supported – not to mention surrounded by a group of people to bounce your ideas off of. And if the weather is decent (on the rare occasion that it is in Britain), maybe try working outside, or at the very worst, in a cafe or a coffee house. The change of scenery alone will help to refresh and stimulate your mind, and it’ll feel so much better than working in your stuffy dorm room.

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