Feeling lonely in freshers’ week & other freshers’ week fears

Before getting to uni, you may have an image in your mind of what freshers’ week is going to include. Lots of booze, staying up ‘til 8am and late night McDonalds. But that isn’t always what it’s like. The Mix talks you through some of the struggles you might face during your first week in higher education, from feeling lonely in freshers’ week to homesickness and making friends.

A young man is reading a book. He is dealing with freshers' week fears. This is a wide-angle image.

Feeling homesick in freshers’ week

We promise that it’s totally natural to miss your old life. Especially considering the fact that it’s cosy and familiar, unlike this new place. But you won’t feel lonely forever. To help, try talking to someone about what you’re going through. This could be anyone from new friends, family back home, or your student welfare officer. In fact, most universities run support and counselling services for people in exactly the same situation. Sometimes just voicing your worries is enough to help you to gain some perspective.

We’d also recommend staying in touch with old friends, but don’t be rushing home every weekend. Yes, that’s slightly confusing so give us a chance to explain. Although it’s good to hear a familiar voice over the phone sometimes, too much of that will just cause more harm than good. And remember that everyone – even that person who seems super confident – feels nervous and lonely sometimes. They’re just really good at covering it up.

But you don’t have to when you’re with us. So if you want some more advice then check out our article on how to deal with feeling homesick at uni here.

Feeling lonely in freshers’ week

From mums who miss you to the one that got away, breaking the ties from your teenage life can be tough. If you’re in a relationship before you start your university life, be open and honest about how the future is gonna look for you guys. Yes, some long-distance relationships do survive, but that’s only if you’re willing to put in the work. 

Remember, you’re likely to meet people that might turn your head at uni and that process can bring up a lot of emotions. So before you make any rash decisions, take a minute. Ask yourself how much this relationship actually means to you and if you trust each other. If the answers are negative it may save a lot of anguish to end things amicably before you end up being a student feeling trapped by your relationship.

On the other hand, if you’re dealing with friends and parents who won’t leave you alone, you may need to set some clear boundaries. Offer to speak at a prearranged time and make it clear you’re not feeling lonely in freshers’ week and actually just really busy with uni work and social life to take on any unplanned calls.

Making friends at university

A good shout is to make contact with your new course mates and flatmates before you even leave home. “There are thousands of Facebook groups for everyone to get to know each other,” says second year Multimedia Journalism student Jade Barringer. “I’d spoken to several of my course mates before I’d even started, and one or two of my flatmates.”

Although it may be tempting to lock yourself in your room, try to hang out in the communal area; especially during the first few weeks. This is a good tactic that’ll help you meet a lot of people. You should also take the opportunity to socialise and get involved in university life whenever you can.” Definitely get to know a couple of people on your course, and from there you’ll get introduced to the people they know.” advises recent journalism graduate Lucy Wright. “Student club nights are always a winner, as well.”

Feeling tired all the time

With so much happening at once, sleep might be taking a back seat. But if you’re feeling homesick, dealing with depression and/or anxiety, or just feeling a bit on edge, then you should probably try to prioritise it since a lack of sleep can lead to all of those symptoms and more. You can achieve this by learning how to catch 40 winks – a quick power nap can have surprisingly restorative effects – and avoiding those vodka Red Bulls. If you think you might be getting ill, check out our article on freshers’ flu and university illnesses here.

Feeling lost at university

If you feel like you’re on an alien planet every time you step out of the front door, it can make that scary lost feeling even stronger. Don’t worry though, most students experience this when they move to a new city. You just need to get your bearings. To help out, you can try pinning a local map to the kitchen wall and taking a stroll round your new ‘hood (the exercise will help with stress, too). And remember Google Maps is a handy way to get from A-B in a new city. 

What to do if you’ve had unprotected sex at university

The first thing to consider is emergency contraception, which you can get at the chemists, your doctor (GP), a GUM clinic or Brook clinic. To get checked out for STIs, sign up with the university doctor and ask for a test or contact your local GUM clinic. It’s easy to ignore it, but if you don’t get checked out now you’ll always wonder if you’ve picked up anything nasty. Not to mention the fact that you risk passing infections on to someone else. Ignorance is certainly not bliss in this scenario.

Running out of money at university

Put simply: Budget. To be more specific, Andrew Hagger of financial website moneynet.co.uk has the following advice: “Work out roughly what money you have available to spend each week and try to stick to it. Don’t get carried away and blow all your money in freshers’ week. And if you find you’re struggling with your finances, speak to the student advisor at your bank. This is something that you can’t just forget about because the problem won’t solve itself. Plus, worrying about money could have a negative impact on your studies.”

For more info, you can check out our infographic on student budgeting tips, or read our article on how to make a budget here. And if you’re seriously broke because your student loan hasn’t come through, read our article ‘when will my student loan come through’, here.

Struggling with university or freshers’ week? Why not chat to the friendly community on our discussion boards for some company?.

Next Steps

  • Brook provides free sexual health and wellbeing services for young people in the UK. Brook's services include local clinics and online digital sex and relationships tool.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

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freshers

By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 20-Apr-2022