According to recent surveys, nearly one in four students feel lonely ‘all’ or ‘most’ of the time.  

University is full of exciting and new experiences, but this can feel daunting at times.

So, what are some of the reasons students feel lonely? Well, the answer isn’t simple, it is individual to everyone but here are a few of the most common reasons: 


  • The change to university was a bigger step than was expected. 

  • You have had trouble connecting with your classmates or trouble engaging with your lectures. 

  • Moving away from you comfort zone, this could be because you’re away from family and friends or just because you’re trying something new. 

  • The immense pressure of higher education had not been fully anticipated. 

  • Difficulty adjusting to a new environment. 


When we talk about Loneliness we don’t just mean being physically alone. In the same vein, you can have many friends and still feel Lonely. Loneliness is an emotion and isn’t something you can just switch off, but there are a few things you can do to feel a little better. 


Reach out


The worst thing you can do is suffer in silence. Nobody should ever feel so lonely they can’t talk to someone. It may be hard for you to take that first step and open up about how you feel, but the second you do, you allow for things to get better. 


Join a Society, Club or Network at Birkbeck


Birkbeck has many friendly groups, and hopefully, you can find a group that works for you. HERE is a list of all the societies and networks we have at the college. Staying active by joining a sports club also allows you to meet amazing people while staying fit and healthy. There are thousands of fellow students here at Birkbeck, even if you’re feeling lonely, your people are out there, and joining a club or society can be the perfect way to meet like-minded students! 


Set realistic goals


It is easy to fall into the trap of setting goals, like having a certain number of friends by a certain time, but this is not the best way to go about making new friends. Maybe try setting yourself a target of speaking to a new person each day, and you will eventually find your personality shines through and then you will find your tribe.  


Believe in yourself and know your worth


Never blame yourself for feeling lonely, it’s very common amongst students to feel this way so why would you be the exception? Instead, you should be positive and think about how far you have come and think about all the wonderful possibilities there are in your future.  


Staying in touch with family and friends


It’s easy to forget about people when you move to university but sometimes all you may need is to feel connected to those who are familiar to you. By simply calling or visiting people, you can show yourself that you’re not alone while also showing the people you care about that they are cared for too. A trip to visit an old friend or family can also be a good break away from your study! 


If you need help


There are many organisations and support options if you are really struggling at the moment. To see what the University has to offer click HERE. It's also very common for loneliness to affect your mental health, so if you want more information, head to our Mental Health tips page or check what the university has to offer. Remember that there are always people on Campus you can talk to, from course reps and SU Leaders to other people on your course.  


Feeling part of a wider Community can do amazing things for everyone involved so if you would like to get involved or if you simply have a good idea for the union, drop us an email and we will get back to you!  


Queer Loneliness


Regardless of all the different collective and yet varied experiences at University, the LGBTQ+ community sometimes faces a disproportionate amount of loneliness. There may be times when you’re the only queer person in the room, the only one in your class or you may even be the only queer person you know. As you can imagine, this is a lonely place to be. 


If you’re not “out”, there’s an extra layer to your loneliness. It can feel very daunting and worrying at times. But remember you are on your own journey, and you have the right to take your time. All queer people have their own experience but knowing you don’t have to do it alone may make the world of a difference.  


If you want to join a community, there is an LGBTQ+ & Trans Network. They meet a few times throughout the year and host lots of events you might be interested in. The networks provide a safe space where you can meet like-minded people.  


Loneliness Information and Resources



© Birkbeck Students' Union

Birkbeck Students’ Union is a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) registered in England and Wales, charity number 1142614.

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