Moving into a city as vast and packed with opportunity as London is, for many students, a change almost as big as the city itself. Change can bring about new and exciting possibilities but also uncertainty and feelings of loneliness.
University can be isolating for students who find themselves living far away from friends and family members: living independently for the first time can be a shock to the system.
Within this experience, many students suddenly find themselves in long-distance relationships; no matter how many FaceTime sessions you manage to squeeze in around lectures and parties, not seeing your partner day-in-day-out is difficult. While studying in London represents a chance to meet endless new people, it can be daunting. You may feel that everyone is having a great time and experiencing this amazing city to the max, whilst you are in a constant state of FOMO.
Feelings of loneliness can manifest very quickly in London, despite it being a city that so many people are in love with. Coupled with feelings of isolation at University is a pressure to enjoy yourself; you’re surrounded by other students who are having - if their Instagram stories are anything to go by - the most fun they have ever had. Added to this, every adult you’ve spoken to before you enrolled may well have have told you that “university is the best time of your life”: no pressure there then.
However it's worth remembering that no matter how happy the people around you appear to feel, and how fast they seem to adjust, almost everyone experiences loneliness at university. The most important thing to remember is that these initial feelings are most likely temporary, and, after your first time, you'll be getting the hang of things and will have met a few nice folks. There are lots of ways of tackling loneliness, creating connections and making lifelong memories in London, which, after all, is brimming with opportunities to connect with others.
Here are our top 5 bits of advice for anyone feeling lonely and isolated in London:
Joining a gym, going swimming or taking part in exercise classes can be revitalising and restorative, not to mention a great way of meeting new people.
Many gyms offer student discounts. CORE Clapton is a charity-funded centre for health and wellbeing in East London which offers accessible treatment to all, and a great discount for students.
There are so many free talks and societies catering for all kinds of interests in London - for example, lunch hour lectures at UCL are free, open to everyone, and another great way of meeting people with similar interests.
Helping with your Student Union can be the perfect way to make connections, they are always looking for help and are full of other students with the same idea.
There are countless ways to volunteer across London and you can do something to help the city become a better place - from planting trees to supporting people in need - whilst making new friends.
And not to forget, working part time will help support yourself and get you working alongside other students and young people. It's a fact that many people make the longest-lasting connections whilst at work. It's worth talking about your feelings and facing up to them, and if you really find yourself struggling, do talk to your family, friends from back home and of course staff at Uni. Counsellors are there for that very reason: to help students find their feet in this huge and often overwhelming city!
Written by Ella
Customer Success, Stint