Sometimes, articles like these can feel so full of important information that it’s hard to tell if a human actually wrote it, so I wanted to say: Hi, my name’s Josh and sometimes, I feel lonely too. I’m writing this article for anyone who has experienced loneliness during their time at university and to make sure you know about the support available at Manchester.
It’s important to remember that ‘loneliness’ is different than ‘being alone’ — we can feel lonely even on a busy campus, surrounded by other students and even our friends. The best description I’ve found about loneliness comes from Student Minds:
“Loneliness is a normal human response to the absence of something we need. It’s like feeling hungry as a response to needing food. Loneliness is simply a warning sign that we need to act to improve our social connections.”‘Overcoming loneliness at university‘, Student Space from Student Minds, Gareth Hughes
Our Counselling and Mental Health Service here at The University of Manchester have workshops coming up for students, aimed at supporting you with the transition into this new academic year and will cover loneliness and homesickness.
Starting off on the Right Foot: Coping with Uni Life
- Thursday, 26 October 2023, 11:00 – 12:30
- Thursday, 9 November 2023, 11:00 – 12:30
- Thursday, 23 November 2023, 11:00 – 12:30
The current theme for six ways to wellbeing is ‘Connect’, which recognises that feeling close to and valued by others can be key to our happiness. You can check out the Wellbeing Calendar to find all of the latest events.
And as always, you can find out more and access the support available to you on our Student Support webpage, including information about taking care of your wellbeing and how to access help in a crisis.
There are also some great articles available from Manchester students, who share their experience of loneliness at university, including Fen’s first-year experience:
“Another thing I want to open up about is loneliness. Now, loneliness can be good. Whilst I have a social life, I spend a lot of my day alone- and I love my own company! I’ve done some great things, and experienced great things, on my own. But at times, you do feel lonely. I’ve felt it- especially in semester one. When you don’t feel brave enough to leave your room, even for the simplest of things, that’s loneliness. When you don’t want to text your mum or friend back, that’s loneliness. When you wake up late and lie in bed on your phone, that’s loneliness. And that’s ok, don’t beat yourself up about it. If you need to chat to somebody, do that. Be honest to yourself, and to others! And take your time. Life isn’t easy, it’s a balancing act as my mum says. As Dolly Parton said, “Everyone wants happiness, nobody wants pain. You can’t have a rainbow without a little rain.””‘How it’s going: My first-year experience at UoM‘, Fen Columb-Hallewell
And Jacob’s guide to enjoying your own company as a student:
“Learning something new can be a great way to find happiness in your own company. This could be learning a new language, trying a new hobby, or taking an online course. Learning not only provides a sense of accomplishment but also helps keep your mind engaged.”‘How to enjoy your own company at university: a guide‘, Jacob Robinson
Your Students’ Union are also here to help you connect with more people, discover opportunities you’ll love and find the support you need to help settle in a little better. Whether you join a society, try volunteering or attend an event, one small step to get involved can make a big difference.
“As an international student, you leave your home, family, and friends behind and need to start a new life. It took me a while to find a new support system, but i think it’s most important for students to know that they deffo can find their people! My advice is to get involved in as many things as possible, a good starting point being joining/creating a society.”Raluca-Elena Valcescu, Faculty of Biology, Medicine & Health Officer
“If it offers you any comfort, you are definitely not alone in your loneliness. Something I wished I tapped into more as an undegrad is *societies*. I only really became active on one in the latter half of my final year, and it really did fill some of that lonely space inside of me. You can also contact the SU’s advice service if you want a space to openly and freely talk about these feelings, and see if they have anything to offer!”Hannah Mortimer, Union Affairs Officer