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Loneliness at University

Hi im 18 and i just started university. Its a lot harder then i thought but i wouldnt dream of dropping out because i am developing my confidence and my degree is really enjoyable. However, i am feeling lonely. When a family member or close friend comes to visit i love it but as soon they leave again it breaks my heart. I've never lived away from home before now and I'm a hour and a half away from my family and friends. it seems like everyone else is fine about it but im really starting to get lonely. i went to my university to ask for counselling. they said i would get a call last Wednesday and i still havent got one which is really frustrating. Do you have any advice for me, i dont want homesickness to put me off my degree.

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Sam

Hi there,

The difference between being at home going to school or college and leaving home to go to university is massive - and it can be scary. You might not know anyone else there, which can be hard to get used to. It can feel like you not only have to make new friends but learn lots of new skills and cope with big deadlines as well.

University is shown on TV and in films as an amazing time with fun people you’ll know the rest of your life – but everyone’s university experience is different. It can be unhelpful to have such high expectations and put yourself under pressure to meet them. Even if it seems like everyone else is doing fine, lots of young people struggle with this change and find their first year hard. Finding people you feel comfortable with and a lifestyle that you like can take some time – and everyone adapts at different speeds. It might feel scary to think about, but joining clubs and societies for things you are interested in is a great way to start meeting people. There are a lot of opportunities at university to find new hobbies or spend time doing things you already enjoy, but you do have to go out and find them.

You could also try getting to know the people who are on your course as you all have something in common - especially when it comes to essays and deadlines. If there’s a group chat for your course, join it. Uf there isn't one then maybe you can start one yourself. Having an online group is a good way to get to know people and to organise things outside of class. Childline has lots of tips and advice about making friends and boosting your confidence.

Your university should take it very seriously if you tell them you’re struggling. Most universities have counselling available and you should be able to access that without having to wait too long. If you don't feel like the faculty is doing enough to help you then it's also okay to complain. Ask to speak to the head of your department, or if you have a tutor you can speak to them as well. Childline has some advice about different mental health problems and ways of coping.

Whatever happens, Childline is here for you. You can talk to our counsellors whenever you need to, online and on the phone. Childline also has advice about the support that’s available once you turn 19, like The Mix who can support you up to the age of 25.

Thanks for sharing this with me, take care.

Sam

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