I wrote this about a month into my time here, when I was feeling like this. I decided to hold off posting it until now because UK university students don’t start term until around the end of September, so I felt it made more sense to post it now, in case anybody else was feeling this way.
Living in halls/student accommodation, in particular, can feel like the most fun place in the world: you always hear music and parties, there are always groups of smiling students, new freedoms.
In some ways, this is entirely true.
However, from another perspective it can make you feel incredibly lonely if you are not part of those very loud parties (that at the moment, in Amsterdam, seem to be happening every single night), or you haven’t made a huge group of friends just yet and perhaps you miss being able to walk in to your (clean) kitchen just to see your family going about their daily business. Life in halls is very different and challenging.
This is my second time living in student accommodation, the first, of course in Leicester in my first year of university, and now, living in Amsterdam on my Erasmus year. I can assure you, I am enjoying it here and have no regrets whatsoever, I have made friends but right now I don’t feel like I have a close group of friends.
I have a severe case of FOMO, my friends have assured me. I get so incredibly stressed that I am missing out when I hear things going on around me, or see groups of people together and I am not part of it and I can really think myself into a really terrible mood. I could be with people all day and then as soon as i’m alone, I feel so alone.
I don’t really know where I am going with this, but I am certain other people feel this sometimes also. In order to overcome such feelings, I continuously remind myself of these things:
- 1. Those who are partying tonight, will more than likely not be partying the next night- my campus has 3000 students on it, there are bound to be many things going on that I will not be part of- that is simply impossible and it is ok.
- 2. Often, those groups of ‘friends’ you’ve seen are not really friends– now I don’t mean this in a negative way, but in the first few days or weeks of university, they’re probably just people who have only just met and likely feel anxious about making good impressions and creating friendships. You will make friends too, it takes time to create genuine friendships. Do not be disheartened when you witness such things and you feel you do not have that yet – most people probably don’t! –I’ve been here for two months now and have made new friends in the last couple of weeks!
- 3. Social media lies. You’ve likely heard this a lot but it is useful to have a constant reminder of it. People post their highlights on social media – nobody’s life in the entire world is that exciting that they’re busy every minute of every single day. Don’t compare.
- 4. It is OK to have alone time, it is healthy and necessary.
- 5. Following on from the previous point, if sometimes your friends are otherwise preoccupied, plan days out for yourself. I for one have already planned a few places I intend to visit and occupy myself for a few hours a day.
- 6. Text family. An obvious one but particularly when at university, familiarity can really help in overcoming these feelings.
- 7. Make plans with people. Though, as I’ve said, you cannot be around people all the time, it still helps to make a future plan for a day out or just something with another person. It will brighten your mood and make those times when you’re alone feel more tolerable knowing you have that to look forward to.
Overall, university really is a great experience, but it really is not all plain sailing. Make adventures and experiences happen when you can but also accept and make the most of those times when you’re alone.