One thing I have learnt and understood from personal experience regarding university is it feels like one of toughest times within our life.
The next four years, we will juggle multiple lectures and assignments from the burning depths of hell, social outings that’ll result in a deep involvement with Netflix while learning how to smile through the pain. Although there will be times where we contemplate the idea of becoming a NASA science experiment or how many tubs it’ll take us to be put into an induced coma, university may and can impact upon your thoughts and mental health. As a result, this overwhelming sense can or may make you feel like you are alone during this time and there is no one supporting you.
I can vouch after spending nearly four years feeling as if no one could understand where I was coming from and afraid of stepping out for help. Yes, there will be times where you will feel like you’ve got no one to talk too or you’re drowning under the weight of being a university student and the expectations we place on our shoulders. However, Dearest Reader, you must know that you are never alone and you can ask for help. If you are sitting there asking, “where can I find this help?” than your answer is down below.
No. 1: Friends
During your stay at university, friends are going to be the people who will see you the most. Whether they are people you’ve known since kindergarten or they’re someone you have made conversation with during class or while waiting in the cafeteria line, friends are people who you can turn to about anything. Friends are a great support network as they’ll understand you when mentioning about your day from hell, the professor made your assignment due date on a social event or you failed your exam by one point. Friends will be there to offer you support or a lending hand when you need it the most.
If you’re feeling low in mood or alone than pick up the phone and give your best friend a call or if they’re on campus, send them a message asking them to have lunch with you. If you’re fortunate enough to live on campus, walk down the hallway to your friend’s dorm room and ask if they want to hang out, have a chat or go grab a cup of coffee together.
It’s moments like these where they are good not only for your health and wellbeing but also they encourage you to leave your assignments and study notes for half an hour and spend some time talking to someone. Even if your friend has an upcoming class or isn’t available until later that afternoon, my advice is to offer them a joint study session at the library and all they need to do is rock up with their study material. Or better yet, suggest grabbing some pre-study snacks and coffee at a local hot spot and walk to the library together. Not only do you get to spend some time studying but you get to do so in amazing company.
No. 2: Family
When was the last time you picked up your phone and called your parents/guardians? If you had to look up at the ceiling and muttered to yourself while counting numbers, I suggest you call your people after reading this post. It has been proven by scientists that making the odd phone call to your family, parents and guardians can improve your mood as you are able to get things off your chest, have a moan about your roommate/s and be updated about things happening in and around your home. This call to home can be a much needed escape from the countless chores and to-do list piling up on your desk alongside the endless assignments that seem to be doubling on a minute to minute basis.
However, if you live at home or within a short drive, why don’t you pack an overnight bag for the weekend and go home. There is something about having a traditional homecooked meal (my Mum, Lois, makes all of our favourite dishes when we come home for a visit), sleeping into freshly washed sheets that smell familiar and have memories attached and the added knowledge of being able to sleep without being interrupted. So, when are you going to pick up the phone and call your family/guardians?
No. 3: Support Thy University Student
Our university has one thing in common, besides both of us attending university to gain a better education and a sense of fulfilment, and that is our student service or university support team. The one thing that student support teams are about is they are there to support you during your time at university by answering questions you don’t have the answers for, helping you formulate what days would be more suitable for classes and what subjects you should take for your degree/s.
Student services are also there to encourage you to look forward when things appear like they aren’t going to plan and urge to you contact them when these worries multiply and the feeling of being lonely is getting you down. If you can’t face the thought of opening to your friends, than a strange can be helpful in so many ways as your support team will and can give you a lot more professional tips and tricks on how to shake off the funk and overcome those pesky feelings of loneliness.
No. 4: To Hobby or Not To Hobby?
When I think about taking up a hobby, I think about the elderly people in my community coming together on a Thursday morning for a pot of tea and a couple rounds of bowls. In my case, I have started a few hobbies and unfortunately, my fulltime work schedule, increasing amount of assignments and university requirement and decreasing social life prevents me from actively participating in these hobbies.
However, I have learnt when continuing hobbies like seeing friends for a coffee or writing down important details in my bullet journal, these hobbies make me focus on the feeling of being involved in my daily tasks/friendships and less on feeling lonely. It can be recommended by a professional who fails at new hobbies, any kind of hobby such as bullet journaling, going for a jog twice or week or sporadically attending a naked art class can be beneficial as you’re having fun and enjoying yourself.
Although the next four years is going to fly past you in a series of lectures, assignments and professors from hell as well as those not-so-fun social outings; feeling lonely and being alone are two things we can tackle from the start. This is the time where we can experiment (hopefully with piercings, hair colouring and not drugs!), develop different relationships and friendships with those who are important to us and gain a further understanding of who, you and I are as a person.
However, at the end of the day if you are feeling lonely and alone, all you can have to do is put your hand up in the air and say, “Hey, my name is….” and it’ll start so many conversations, your poor head will be swimming. Enjoy the adventure and more importantly, contact your parents/guardians because they miss you and will offer you a shoulder to cry on when shit hits the roof.
Good luck and I’ll be standing next to you when we graduate.
Until next time,