The end of sixth form means a lovely long Summer before you move into work, or the next step of your education or training. To an adult stuck with two weeks Summer holiday that prospect might seem fantastic; to hang out with friends, travel, and not do anything remotely like work, for a while.

The reality, of course, can be a little different. You might be working to save some money, and of course you have the exam results to wait for, perhaps nervously. The more you can do fun things to distract you from the worrying, the better. And don’t let yourself get into negative thinking (Session 2), there is always a Plan B.

So maybe you are going off to University in Autumn. It’s an exciting time and also a huge change to your lifestyle, and one thing you need to be prepared to tackle is loneliness.

You’re (probably) away from home and friends, there are way fewer hours of classes and you’re expected to be much more independent than you have been in school – and even than University students were in the past.

Uni and college services are beginning to realise this is happening (see the links below, just some of the help available) and are increasing their support services.

Here are some tips from Bounceability.net:

  1. Firstly acknowledge that life is going to be different and that could involve some periods of loneliness, especially to begin with. It’s not a nice feeling, but don’t let it come as a shock.
  2. Work hard – at building your social networks. These don’t necessarily come from your classmates as you may not see them out of lectures. Find out what groups and societies are available (you can do this at Fresher’s Week) and join those you might be interested in. This might mean travelling around different campuses but getting out of your room to find new places helps your Growth Mindset (Session 3).
  3. Access the support services available if you feel anxious or depressed.
  4. At Bounceability.net we encourage you to take challenges and be courageous. The tools that you build up over the course can help you do that, especially the confidence ones. When you start University try and be an ice breaker: smile at others, start conversations, suggest meeting up and doing things together. Yeah, that can be scary, but remember, everyone is in the same boat, and though some people may look confident or unfriendly, it could hide loneliness. Reach out and be a good buddy. Find out more about good friendships with Bounceability.net.
  5. Practice all the wellbeing tips – eat well, exercise and put your resilience tools into practice, like dealing with pesky thoughts, Mindfulness and visualisation.
  6. What online social networks could you set up? Keep in touch with old friends from school and home, or classmates you may not see outside of lectures. Or find buddy networks for students.
  7. Get a part-time job. This not only boosts your finances but gets you out meeting people.
  8. Balance work and social time. Of course you want to do well, but not at the expense of your health and enjoyment of your Uni days. Keep a perspective about your marks. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t get the final grade you want, you have many choices in life that will be fulfilling. And by developing this mindset you will probably work more effectively.
  9. Keep in touch with home and parents, let them know if you need help and don’t think you are letting them down.
  10. Remember, in the grand scheme of things, this is actually a short part of your life, it can change each year, and before you know it, you’ll be graduating and on to the world of work. Be courageous!

Links:

https://inews.co.uk/news/education/how-university-students-learn-to-deal-with-loneliness/

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/may/11/i-felt-left-out-how-to-fight-loneliness-at-university

https://www.studentminds.org.uk/