This post was written by an external contributor. Is university life getting you down? Olivia Stringer has some advice to help combat the uni blues.
University can be extremely lonely for many students. Whether you’ve just returned to university after a long break of your mother cooking you copious amounts of food and catching up with old friends, or you feel your overload of assignments is preventing you from having a social life, it can be really hard to shake off feelings of isolation.
First year students in halls can feel especially alone. Either because it’s their first time living away from home or purely because some university accommodation literally looks like it was modelled off a prison cell. However, fear not, for here is a list of ways to help you combat the uni blues.
When you’re stuck in the library from 9-5 studying ‘Genome maintenance and regulation’, it can feel like there’s no daylight. This is especially true in the long winter months that we are unfortunately subjected to in the UK. You leave early for uni and it’s pitch black outside, and when you return after a long day of lectures all the sunlight has disappeared. Depressing right?
Therefore, it’s imperative to make use of every ounce of sunlight that you can. Use the great outdoors as an excuse for a healing study break. Go for a run in the park, or a stroll through the woods, or even a picnic – if you’re feeling daring enough to battle sub-zero temperatures and a relatively high chance of torrential rain. Even if it’s only for a few minutes, exposure to sunlight is bound to decrease any feelings of melancholy.
Call your friends and family
Homesickness can hit you like a train at uni. Although you will probably meet lifelong friends there, with whom a cup of tea and a catch up can save you from a disastrous revision meltdown, sometimes you just need to hear the familiar voice of someone who doesn’t look at you like you’ve got three heads when you bombard them with your niche hometown slang.
Arrange a time, perhaps once a week, where you can phone or facetime your loved ones. This will act as a well needed reminder that you have people who will love and support you. But more importantly, it will reaffirm your conviction that the correct term for a bread roll is undoubtedly, a cob.
Plan a holiday
Whether it’s a girl’s holiday in Zante or a relaxing break sipping Chardonnay in the South of France, going on holiday is a great way to destress and get some quality vitamin D. Plan your holiday for after exams so that you have something to look forward to in those never-ending months of revision. It’s also a way of rewarding yourself for surviving another exhausting year at uni.
Join a society
It’s pretty much guaranteed that the first thing someone will say to you when you ask them how to make friends at uni is ‘join a society’. It’s also pretty much guaranteed that on your first week, you’ll sign up to every single society at the Freshers’ Fair, knowing full well that you have absolutely no intention of actually attending any of them. Don’t be one of these people.
Step out of your comfort zone, join the cheerleading society, become a champion chess player, write for the student newspaper. Whether it’s getting pissed every week at the socials or working collectively to achieve a goal, societies can give you a sense of community that you won’t find anywhere else at uni, helping to leave any thoughts of loneliness behind.
Give your room a makeover
Although Feng Shui probably isn’t the most scientifically accurate of methods, its proven that happiness has a lot to do with your environment. Most university accommodation is a lifetime away from the Ritz. Therefore it can be incredibly easy to descend into misery when you are stuck in a damp room, revising and eating cold baked beans straight out of the tin. The solution? Rejuvenate your surroundings.
Print off a load of pictures of your mates and arrange them in a quirky pattern on your walls. Collect an abundance of fairy lights and string them up around your bed. Burn incense/scented candles to do away with the stench of the three weeks’ worth of unwashed clothes. Undeniably, you will still be living in the same rundown, mould ridden student house as you were before. However, you will have added your own personal flair.
Depression is becoming increasingly more common amongst uni students. However, try to remember that you never have to feel alone! Take breaks from studying to catch up with friends, exercise and explore the world around you. But most importantly, remember that there is far more to life than your favourite corner of the uni library.