Television and films paint a picture of what university life is supposed to look like. House parties, fraternity parties, keg stands, a social life that may not be as posh as the stars but you feel like a celebrity with the large group of friends you go out with every night.
The media hardly covers the reality of student life; it especially leaves out the problem of loneliness. With growing awareness of mental health and well-being, universities are seeing an increase in students reaching out for help.
Many students could combat loneliness and stress of university life by simple, everyday habits that create a happier lifestyle.
Physical Health and Wellbeing: It’s easier – and let’s face it – cheaper to eat unhealthy foods. Many students socialize by drinking and eating together. However, getting up for class and staying awake during the day becomes harder and harder as time passes. We aren’t all freshers anymore. Sneaking in a few more veggies and getting regular exercise – even just a short walk in your favourite park – promotes healthy body image as well as releases those happy endorphins. When we feel good about ourselves, we tend to create more balance in our schedules.
Student Involvement: As students we are told time and time again to get involved. You might have a full schedule of classes and a part-time job or two. It’s hard for students to find time for hobbies and things that make them happy. Consider joining a club even if you can only make it once a month. Take up an old or new hobby just for you. Students often live for school and work, missing out on those things in life that make them feel happy.
Call Home: It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of being a student. We have classes, homework, jobs, and hopefully hobbies. Calling up your parents, siblings, and friends back home might be put on the back burner; yet, maintaining relationships with people who don’t live near us anymore upholds a sense of support not only in our present community but around the world. Having a few close friends who you can call anytime – even if those friends are called mom and dad – reminds us that we are more than just students, we are important, valued, and cared about individuals.
Be Ambitious: Don’t let sadness or loneliness derail you from your goals. As students we often question if we are making the right career choice. The future isn’t certain. To get a little more clarity and to feel a little more accomplished, goal setting can propel us forward in our quest to answer the question ‘what do I want to do with my life?’ even ‘what am I doing with my life?’ Don’t worry if you don’t know the answer to these questions, none of us do. Keep trying. Don’t give up. The loneliness you feel now is only temporary. Keep your eye on your goals and put in the hard work it takes to obtain them. You are capable of accomplishing anything you put your mind to as long as you don’t give up when it gets tough.