It is normal for students to feel a little lonely when they arrive at university and at times throughout the year. The secret to feeling that you belong at a big place like UBC is to find a smaller place—a smaller group of people, a smaller community, within this larger community—and begin to meet others, one at a time. Loneliness is overcome one hello, one conversation, and one friendship at a time.
Ways to combat loneliness and build a supportive community
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. Attend residence events—particularly those early in the year.
4. Eat with others. If you live in first year residence, your floor or house may have tables in the dining hall where they typically sit. Invite your roommates or floormates to go with you, or ask your Residence Advisor, who is likely heading that way to eat too—and would be glad to have company. If you go by yourself and there’s someone at the table you haven’t met, sit down near them and introduce yourself!
5. Say hi to someone you don’t know. It’s the best pathway to friendship! Starting a conversation can feel intimidating, and it’s likely the other person is just as hesitant. Here are some great conversation starters:
- How was your move in? When did you arrive?
- Where do you call home?
- What faculty are you in?
- What are you going to do this weekend?
6. If you want company, leave your door open when you’re home. Fellow residents will stop and say hello.
7. Stay engaged on your floor or house social media accounts and check out the bulletin boards around residence that announce events and activities to see what’s going on and find some to check out. It’s fine to go by yourself!
8. Talk to a Residence Advisor. Ask them what activities they’re planning and let them know the kinds of things you would enjoy doing or trying.
9. Attend AMS Clubs Day or visit AMS Clubs to see if there’s a club that interests you. Successful students tell us that getting involved in campus organizations was a key factor in building campus connections.
10. Consider getting involved with your residence association!
11. If you continue to have a hard time and still feel lonely, you can talk with a Residence Advisor or the Residence Life Manager. RAs or RLMs can’t fix the problem—but they’ll listen and try to help you find the answer that works.