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Articles > Student Life November, 11, 2014

Learn how to beat loneliness at uni

Luke Walpole
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University… that place you’ve been pining for since your Head’s of Year muttered the words ‘GCSEs’ and ‘Further Education’. The glitz and glamour of independence mixed with the ability to re-invent yourself amidst the booze-filled micro-climate of Freshers’ week. This is step one of your right of passage towards being a very scary prospect; a grown-up.

This is supposed to be the best time of your life, the start of something new, the (insert further coming-of-age clichés). But what do you do if it utterly fails to live up to your expectations? When you spend more time working than socialising? The answer is becoming increasingly clear to me at least now; get involved in anything and everything that you can.

Working hard

Photo By AnaC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am currently at what some people would call an ‘elite university’, one that fits into the amalgamation of two universities that make you think of the words ‘posh’ and other, more unsavoury words that perhaps would be best left unpublished! In reality, I kind of fell into this without fully realising what I had signed up for, indeed throughout the admissions process I thought it completely implausible that I would get in. But now here I miraculously am, and find myself 4 weeks in now, having been chucked in the deep end in terms of work as well as trying to balance that with making new friends, and trying not to come across like a complete pillock. I’ve been to both ends of the spectrum; ranging from the jubilation of getting ridiculously drunk and meeting new people to the extremely testing bouts of loneliness when I really questioned what I was doing here.

The transition between Sixth Form and University is deceptively large, and some bridge this gap better than others. It seems scant consolation when people look at your miserable face and say “You’re not the only one”. In its early thralls Uni has the capacity to be the most lonely and interactive, the most social yet personal, place you’ll ever go to, and the old maxim that you need to give it time appears to be correct in my case at least. I am sure that Freshers across the country, people who have been run ragged by that pesky Freshers’ flu, have had seconds, moments or even days when they felt like they couldn’t cope, but that’s nothing to be ashamed of.

So what is my sage, albeit very premature, advice? Well the simple fact seems to be that you need to try and meet as many people as possible. Unless the odds are indeed in your favour, it seems unlikely that the people in your block will have exactly the same interests as you. Join clubs, join societies, try new things and you’re increasing the likelihood that you will meet new people that share you interest and may just turn out to be your new best friends. Even with my frankly diabolical work-load at times I decided that I needed to get out and try new things, now I play rugby, have joined the gym, write for the newspaper and host a cheese-fest of a radio show! I’m a happier and frankly less boring person because of it.

I’m not a model student here at all; in fact there are times when I think I’m the opposite of that. But I just thought that three years of your life reading textbooks through dull eyes would not only be soul destroying, but also a complete waste of £40,000 – sorry to bring up the HUGE debt we will all incur, a bit of an elephant in the room to be honest. If you let nervousness about putting yourself out there take over your Uni life then you will have an awful few years, that’s a promise that I can already make even though I’m just a naïve fresher myself.

There will be homesick, lonely moments I’m sure, but why let that be the abiding memory in what really should be some of the most enjoyable, largely carefree, years of your life?

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  1. saj me

    Univesrsity life is too busyy