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You Are Not Alone

Jess Henrys

Wednesday, 15 June 2022

This Welfare Wednesday we take a look into loneliness, something many students feel at university. One of our Welfare Secs, Jess Henrys, takes a look into the subject and provides some advice for our readers in aid of Loneliness Awareness Week.

It’s may seem strange to suggest that language learners get lonely, but even these notoriously sociable creatures can be struck by the loneliness bug. For the Marmalade Trust’s Loneliness Awareness Week 2022, we’re taking a little look at loneliness and a few ways to fight it.


Sometimes we all need a little reminder that we are not alone.


What is loneliness?


In May 2021, the ‘What’s Up With Everyone?’ (WUWE) campaign was launched to offer mental health support through a series of short films. The campaign found that “loneliness and perfectionism” were the two most prominent issues affecting young people’s mental health. A year later, the fact remains. As reported by the BBC last week, almost one in four students report that they are lonely most or all of the time.


WUWE defines loneliness as:


“The combination of feelings and thoughts that you are alone in the world. It is not the same as being on your own, as that can feel good and welcome at times. It is a more uncomfortable way of feeling and thinking”.

Loneliness can often be linked with isolation, where you are cut off from familiar people, places or resources that are a support to you. You may feel like you don’t belong.


If these feelings are familiar to you, know firstly that you are not alone, and secondly, that these feelings are temporary. They may even pass on their own. And there are things you can do to help.


Images by the Marmalade Trust for Loneliness Awareness Week 2022

1. Look Inside


WUWE recommends looking inside yourself and pinpointing the obstacles in your daily life that prevent you from connecting with others, and then becoming a conscious observer of those around you. Being curious teaches us about other people’s likes, dislikes, and personality traits, and how we can best interact with them.


Remember also to be gentle with yourself. The following ideas may inspire you to conquer your loneliness, but you don’t have to do everything all at once. Taking care of your mental health often means taking baby steps and managing tasks and changes in bite-sized pieces. Set manageable goals and build up to them: you don’t have to jump straight into joining a new society or making twenty new friends… maybe start with calling someone you know, or meeting up for coffee, or sending someone a quick text to ask how they’re getting on.


What’s more, if you’re feeling lonely or emotionally overwhelmed, make sure to keep yourself physically healthy, such as by getting enough sleep and fresh air. These small changes can make a huge difference to your perspective on life.


Finally, have a think about those friends who you haven’t heard from in a while. Could they be feeling lonely? Could they benefit from a personal message, a catch up, or some quality time together? Be the first to make contact. It could mean the world to someone.

2. Look Outside


Get social! The best way to conquer your loneliness is to get out there and interact with others. There are many ways to get connected at Nottingham with other people just like you.

Join a Language Society


No one understands the highs and lows of studying languages better than your fellow coursemates. If you’re struggling to make friends in your classes, or just want to reach out more, why not drop into one of UoN’s course societies? For example:

The French and German Society; The Hispanic Society; The Russian Speaking Society and many other language and non-language course-based societies at UoN. Take a deep breath and say hi!


Join a Lingo Social


At Lingo, we understand what life is like for language students, and we’re happy to share the highs and lows with you. Keep an eye out on our social media pages for our next social event, and feel welcome to come along, whatever your subject or background. Or, for more one-on-one support, drop an email to your Welfare Team at lingomagwelfareteam@gmail.com and one of the team will get back to you and signpost you to available support.


Find your other interests


Life doesn’t have to revolve around your course. Sometimes it’s worth taking a step back from learning your language to enjoy other things in life! Whether it’s sports or song writing, cocktails or cups of tea, there’s a society for everyone at UoN. Don’t be afraid to explore the societies that pique your interest, even the ones you’ve never heard of before. Whether it’s something you’re already good at, or something completely new, societies can be a great way to meet new and interesting people (and a great way to forget about deadlines for an hour or so).


Volunteer


If you are struggling with feelings of loneliness, be assured that you are not alone. Sometimes, reaching out to others in need can be a great way to tackle and challenge your own loneliness. The UoN Global Buddies scheme pairs up UoN students with new international or Erasmus students in need of a friendly face. Apply to be a buddy here. Applications for September 2022 close on 13/07.


3. Look Professionally


With practice, feelings of loneliness and isolation can loosen the hold they have on you. But, if the feelings seem to be sticking around, it may be time to seek professional help.


At university, this support can be found:


With your Faculty and Wellbeing Team –

Email your dedicated Faculty Support and Wellbeing Team

Faculty of Arts: support-arts@nottingham.ac.uk

Faculty of Engineering: support-engineering@nottingham.ac.uk

Faculty of Social Sciences: support-socialsciences@nottingham.ac.uk

Faculty of Science: support-science@nottingham.ac.uk

Faculty of Medicine and Health Science: support-medhealthsci@nottingham.ac.uk

With the University Counselling Service –

https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/counselling/student-counselling/student-counselling.aspx


With Cripps Health Centre –

Make an appointment with a dedicated mental health practitioner here: 0115 846 8888.


In the outside world, help can be found -


With the Samaritans: Call free, day or night, on 116 123 Or email jo@samaritans.org.uk

With the SHOUT 85258 text line: Shout 85258 is a free, confidential, 24/7 text message support service:

Text SHOUT to 85258. With the Togetherall Online Community: https://togetherall.com/en-gb/

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About the Author

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