The University of British Columbia offers a page of useful resources for student residences, particularly aimed at new students, to help them find their place on campus. This site offers advice for making friends, living with a roommate, making good choices and maintaining mental health. One particular section, titled “Feeling Lonely?” provides ten steps to combat loneliness, including advice on being more social and seeking assistance. This site is useful in that it doesn’t conflate loneliness with a mental illness, it presents it as a human experience that has small and simple solutions.
1. Live in residence. It’s one of the best ways to meet people, adjust and succeed at university.
2. Hang out in the residence lounge, not in your room.
3. Eat with others. If you live in Totem or Vanier, your floor or house has special tables in the cafeteria where residents regularly sit. Just ask your Residence Advisor. If you go by yourself, and there’s someone at the table you don’t know, sit in the next free seat and introduce yourself.
4. If you want company, leave your door open when in your room. Others will stop and say hello.
5. Read bulletin boards and flyers around residence. See what’s going on, and go check it out. It’s fine to go by yourself.
6. Talk to a Residence Advisor about upcoming activities and programs you might enjoy.
7. Go to the Residence Involvement Fair (September) to learn residence committees like football, ultimate, musical, newsletter, sustainability and more.
8. See about getting involved with your residence association.
9. Go to Alma Mater Society Clubs Day (mid-September) at the Student Union Building (SUB). See if there’s a club that interests you. Getting involved in campus organizations is a great way to build campus connections.
10. If you’re still having a hard time, talk with a Residence Advisor or the Residence Life Manager. They can’t fix the problem—but they’ll listen and try to help you find answers.
As an international student coming to UBC to live on campus, I accessed this site prior to the beginning of semester and found it to be a helpful resource in normalising an experience I was very apprehensive about. Although the site does offer further support links, it doesn’t imply a more serious problem must be at hand. It offers straightforward and easy to follow steps that are relevant to students living on campus and experiencing the sense of loneliness that is almost unavoidable when first embarking on your university career in a new and foreign environment.
Robinson, Janice. 2016. “Feeling Lonely?”. Vancouver.Housing.Ubc.Ca. http://vancouver.housing.ubc.ca/feeling-lonely/.