For many of our residents, moving to university is the first time living away from home. The excitement and anticipation about coming to uni doesn’t always measure up to the reality at first. While watching course mates “having the best days of their life”, many students experience a sense of loneliness, which is perfectly natural when entering a new, unfamiliar environment for the first time; it’s not something to be ashamed of.
I called the student Nightline last night; I just needed someone to talk to. I can’t tell you what a relief it was to speak to someone who understood and didn’t just say that I was homesick. I realised that I needed to take a step, no matter how small.
An amazing thing happened today, from somewhere deep inside, I made a huge effort to say hello to my next door neighbour, and she said hi back!!! I know it’s not life changing but it’s a start. I seem to have a little more confidence and may be doing it again although this student life is hard. I never prepared myself for the difficulty in making friends, it’s one of those things you always assume will happen.”
Rachel, 18, University of Liverpool
Here at Collegiate, with so many of us having been to university ourselves, we know the social challenges some students face and so have created our apartments to be not just somewhere to sleep but somewhere to live. Our onsite teams are available 24 hours a day to support you, they also organise a variety of social events through the year that are the perfect way to get to know your neighbours.
We put thought into the facilities we offer at Collegiate. With gyms, cinemas, workrooms, common rooms and games room, every detail ensures your experience with us is about friendship and laughter. Every one of you will have moved away from home and every one of you needs a friend. It starts with a ‘hi’.
Even, pop sensation, Paloma Faith, struggled when she left home. In a recent Cosmopolitan interview, she said,
“I remember my first year of living away from home really well. I was excited about being independent, but struggled with the reality. One morning in my shared house, I woke up and couldn’t see anything. It turned out that I had really bad conjunctivitis. I’d underestimated how much support ‘home’ had given me – I couldn’t cope. I felt like I just needed my mum.”
Paloma on struggling to fit in:
“I found my first experience of university really regimented [Paloma studied contemporary dance at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds]. I went in five days a week, 7am until 6pm. I didn’t have much in common with the other students and found it hard to fit in – they were amazing athletically, but weren’t creative like me. I stayed and graduated, but in hindsight, I shouldn’t have done – I stuck it out because I’m stubborn, but wasted time doing something that wasn’t right for me.”
It’s ok to admit you’re lonely like Paloma but what isn’t right is to stay silent. You need to talk, and often letting it all out to someone is such a relief.
Who to talk to?
A confidential listening and information service run by students for students. We’ll listen, not lecture. “Student life is not always the party people might think it is.” – Stephen Fry, long-term supporter
Your University will have a student services department that will support you and most importantly, listen.
A national and renowned helpline that is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It doesn’t matter who you are, how you feel, or what has happened. If you feel that things are getting to you, get in touch.
Breathing Space is a free, confidential phone and web based service for people in Scotland experiencing low mood, depression or anxiety.