Living in student accommodation can be hard, especially if you’re a fresher. Post-COVID times only enhances the struggle and obviously, lockdown will make things feel infinitely worse. Normal advice given to first-years at university is now useless. There are no freshers events to experience, there are no club and society nights to attend and certainly no parties for you to meet new people. Loneliness can easily creep in and take hold. It is unusual to find events going on at the moment and interaction is most certainly limited but it’s important to keep in touch with friends and relatives and keep yourself occupied.
Sharing a house – remember to take time for you
If you are lucky enough to be living in a shared house with flatmates that you get along with then you get the benefits of having company, but there are drawbacks as well. With the opportunity for meeting new people removed (or limited at the very least), then those students with friendly flatmates will likely resort to spending more time than usual with them. However, this means the friendship becomes more intense and can put a big strain on the relationship. Make sure you are taking time for yourself and not allowing your friendships to become codependent or toxic. There is no shame in taking a break from socialising to calm down and take time for yourself – maybe watch a movie, practice a hobby or get some work done. You will be able to spend time with your roomies all year of course. Take things at your own pace.
In Halls – stay connected and occupied
Some people will clearly have the opposite problem. Lack of interaction and communication is damaging for everybody whether you struggle with mental health or not. Contact is important. The internet is a valuable resource during all of this but should never be seen as a substitute for face-to-face communication. If you are in lockdown and unable to see people, getting outside for a walk or a run is vital. Fresh air is a real tonic and it is better to look in the eyes of a stranger as you walk by than to be cut off from everybody, alone in your room. It can seem a lot harder than the first lockdown as you are likely to be without your family and now are in a small ‘all in one’ boxy room. Do not let this intimidate you. Surround yourself with the things you love and make sure to call (video is great), text and message the people you love. Remember that all the other students are in the same situation as you. Eat regularly, drink plenty of water and try to focus on the things you can control. Keep yourself occupied doing activities you enjoy. We will all get through this together.
Don’t get stuck in your own head
Remember, when humans spend too much time by themselves, the internal is given more attention than the external. This means that if you have minimal communication with others, you tend to turn to thoughts to obtain this dialogue. Focusing your attention inwards can become damaging if you begin to overthink and blow things out of proportion. Grounding yourself is important. Look around you, check the date, remember where you are. Don’t get stuck in your head.
Stay safe out there,
No5 Young Ambassador