How to Cope with Being Lonely at University

 

I started going to school at UVic at the beginning of January, just after New Year’s. It was the beginning of my university career and a huge step, since I was also leaving the US. I packed up and took a chance, leaving my family and friends behind to go and get my education. It has now been about a month and a half in and, although I don’t regret my choice, I have also had my fair share of struggles. Mainly, I’ve struggled with feeling so alone all the time.

In high school, I was very involved in my school’s community. I had a club after school every day of the week and was involved in running three of them at some point or another. I went to school activities and knew my peers and teachers. I had a close group of friends who I had for years. Although I still have those friends, my daily social life changed so much.  Being at a fairly large school with no background with anyone here is daunting. I never thought of myself as shy, but I’ve found that being on my own makes me clam up and avoid putting myself out there.

I have tried to make friends and connections, and honestly, it’s so hard. After years of having my friends by my side, I forgot how exhausting it is to meet new people. You don’t know if they’ll get your humour or like you, if they’ll think you’re annoying, or if you will even enjoy being around them. Making new friends is a work in progress and doesn’t happen overnight. But being on your own day in and day out is also hard on you. You don’t have people in person to talk to about how you’re feeling or just to casually hang out with. I can understand how some people may give up in these sorts of situations, but I have a way to deal with it. This is how you cope with being lonely when you’ve moved away from home.

 

 

1. Enjoy spending time with yourself

Go do something you enjoy or makes you happy alone. It can be easy to decide that you are just going to sit around and wait to have friends to do things with, but going on your own can be great. You get to decide what to do and when. Plus, just hanging out on your own is healthy.

 

2. Focus on your goals

If you have something you’re working on, whether that be school or a job, let yourself really engage in it. You’ll feel good about being productive and you’ll have less time to freak out about making friends.

 

3. Text/call/Skype people back home

We live in an amazing age where you can basically contact anyone, anytime. Take advantage of it! Text the group chat throughout the day, call your mom, Snapchat your S.O. when you want. Trust me: they want to hear from you, too, and it really helps you feel more connected. I once sat in the hallway talking to my boyfriend for over four hours, and it was the most therapeutic evening for me.

 

 

4. Make yourself go out

Sometimes, you get to the point where you give up on meeting people and just wanna hide and be a loner forever. Don’t do it. Force yourself to go to the event or the club meeting, because you never know what’ll happen, and you’ll feel good that you’re putting yourself out there.

 

5. Remind yourself why you’re here

You’re doing this for a reason, and probably for an important one. Remind yourself of that and let it drive you. I chose to go to school away from my friends and family because I loved the school and wanted to challenge myself. Just because everything isn’t perfect doesn’t mean that I lose my motivation.

 

6. Remember to be proud of yourself

You’re pursuing higher education and dealing with loneliness at the same time. It’s a lot, and guess what? You’re doing it! So be proud, and know that you’re doing your best.

 

 

Although it’s still really hard handling all that my life is right now, I’m growing from it, and I have made some connections. Starting out somewhere new isn’t easy, and it takes time to find your place, but stressing about it won’t make it easier. Feeling overwhelmed and sad is easy to fall into, but you don’t have to. Stay proactive and find way to make yourself happy. Transition is hard, and so is making relationships, so be nice to yourself.