Skip to content

Are you feeling lonely?

Feeling Lonely?

Every student starts higher education with high hopes and quite a few concerns. Settling in and making friends is high on both those lists. It’s normal for feelings of homesickness and loneliness to occur throughout your studies whether it’s your first week in a new city or returning to campus after a break. London is a busy city, bursting with almost 9 million people and studying here can be very exciting. It can also be very lonely.

 A 2022 survey by Advance HE/HEPI found that almost 25% of students feel lonely all or most of the time. That’s huge! Yet despite its prevalence, there’s still a lot of stigma about feeling lonely which can make reaching out for help even harder. If you are feeling lonely, remember you’re not alone and support is available.

Being connected to others – getting support, a sense of belonging and joy – is vital for our wellbeing.  Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs has love and belonging in third place after basic needs like food, shelter and safety are met. These connections must be large and small, meaning feeling connected to friends and family and the wider society. However, if you’re feeling lonely it can be tempting to withdraw and keep feelings to yourself. Evidence shows this is the worst thing to do whereas speaking to someone about how you feel can really help. There’s some truth in the old saying  “A problem shared is a problem halved”. With 1 in 4 students feeling lonely, chances are they’ll be feeling the same and will appreciate the chance to talk.  

In the 21st century we can connect in person and online.  Whilst connecting online can be positive, be careful of spending too much time in the carefully crafted world of social media as this can have a negative effect. When it comes to friends, choose quality over quantity. One authentic connection is worth so much more than amassing followers.

There are many reasons that can contribute to our feeling lonely:

  • Difficulty making new friends
  • Missing the familiarity of family and friends
  • Additional responsibilities such as, family and work limiting free time
  • The pressure of studying at higher education level
  • Financial difficulties
  • Feeling different to those around you
  • Not having a romantic partner
  • Having friends you can’t be honest with

There are several activities and resources available to our students to help:

  • Peer Mentoring:  meet with an experienced student to get one-to-one support, advice and develop your connections. This informal relationship can help you make the most of your university experience.
  • Student Guild: meet other students through the various societies, in person and online events.
  • Volunteering: can be a brilliant way to meet new people, make you feel good, build confidence, and do something positive for society.  This could be a one-off event or something longer term.
  • Togetherall: have resources and advice on loneliness as well as the anonymous peer to peer support.

These external resources have some great tips:

Speak to SEWS

Your Student Engagement, Wellbeing and Success team are here to help.

We’re here Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm except bank holidays.