You need to be in contact with other people to be able to function and develop correctly. But the degree of social contact is entirely down to individual preferences. But if your need for social contact is not met, there is a real danger that you will experience loneliness.
Loneliness can happen at any time in your life, including during your studies. But there are some periods and situations where you are particularly vulnerable. For example:
- The beginning of your studies. Perhaps you moved to a new town and have to make new friendships and social contacts.
- You have fallen behind in your studies and cannot keep up with your student friends.
- You are writing your thesis and frequently have to isolate yourself to complete the task.
- A period of loss or mourning because a family member or a partner has died, or your best friend has moved abroad.
- You experience social angst and you isolate yourself from people to avoid this angst.
- You isolate yourself from your partner.
Loneliness and sense of guilt
People who are popular have a lot of friends and are easy to spot. Perhaps your life is different and you feel that maybe this is because you are a failure. Loneliness is often followed by a feeling of guilt – you feel guilty that you are isolated. Talking to other people becomes difficult and this can increase your feelings of loneliness. Constant loneliness can lead to low self-esteem and to dejection and depression. Just as self-esteem issues can lead to dejection and loneliness.
Loneliness and changing your course
Completing your course can be difficult if you feel lonely during your studies. It is easy to believe that if you just change courses you will find new friends and the problem will be solved. But think long and hard before you change your course. It is far from certain that this will solve your problems. If you have problems dealing with the social aspects of your studies but are actually very happy with the course subject, you should consider working on your loneliness, taking your point of departure in the part of your life that is not connected to your studies.
Before you suffer from loneliness
You can avoid loneliness by being active in your leisure time. If you cannot establish a social network around your studies, you may be able to build a social network outside of your studies. You can meet people and form a network through leisure activities such as sport activities, voluntary social or political work, cultural activities or via student associations.
If you feel lonely
The Counselling Centre can meet with you and talk about loneliness. We can give you advice and counselling, and show you how to strengthen your network and how you can avoid becoming isolated.
In Student Counselling we offer interviews to students whose loneliness has begun to affect their studies. We can help you to look at what lies behind the loneliness and help you to change the behavioural patterns that are causing your loneliness. You can hold one-to-one interviews with us or take part in group interviews with other students who understand your problem.
- Lead a whole life: Spending all of your time and energy on your subject might help you academically but it is not good for your social wellbeing.
- Get involved in life beyond studies: Hang out with friends, cultivate leisure interests, your partner and your family.
- Do not live your life through your partner: Friends are important.
- Be socially active.
- Shake off those feelings of loneliness: Take the first step and talk about it, even if talking is difficult. Now the path is clear and you can take the next step.