Freshers week at University can be a hugely exciting time, where new students make a host of new friends and connections, ready for the academic year. However, a study by YouGov of UK students has shown that loneliness is the biggest concern cited by students while at university. Some 92 per cent of students said in a survey that they experienced loneliness in the last academic year.
Loneliness was rated as a bigger concern than money, the course itself and housing. Perhaps most worryingly, 43 per cent said that they would feel judged and uncomfortable about admitting they were lonely to their peers. The good news is that it seems that worry is unfounded. The vast majority of students (87 per cent) indicated that they would not judge their friends – after all – the stats suggest they all can relate to the feeling to one extent or another. And 60 per cent said they would make an effort to strike up conversation with friends who shared their loneliness feeling.
One of the most exciting parts of freshers week can be society fairs and days. And students reported that signing up to clubs and society was one of the most effective ways to combat the feeling of loneliness: some 42 per cent of loneliness experiencers said it was the most helpful thing to intervene with the problem.
UK Minister for Loneliness, Stuart Andrew said:
“As these findings make clear, loneliness can affect anyone at any time. While freshers’ week is an exciting time for many, it can often be a daunting prospect for students. Moving away from home and away from friends and family can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, especially while trying to manage coursework, make new friends and often navigate a new city.”
The study is a clear demonstration of one of society’s biggest problems, and stresses it can affect anyone at any time in their life. But it’s also an indicator of why social discovery apps could have a huge growth in the coming years. Apps that let people find others who are looking for friends, looking for activities, looking for those who share their hobbies, have huge potential to make a marked difference in people’s lives. In person, at an event like freshers week can be hugely daunting to some. Having apps that can break the ice, and let people find exactly what they are looking for is hugely powerful.