As the new semester starts and old friends greet each other in the halls, it can be easy for incoming students to feel left out. Even those who have been attending college for years are not immune to the feelings of loneliness common among many university students.
According to Sarah Barkley of PsychCentral, this loneliness can be attributed to several reasons. Among them is the absence of normal support systems, the observance of romantic relationships, new routines and educational goals, feelings of ignorance and mental health issues. Despite these negativities, however, students can find solace knowing that feelings of loneliness can be minimized by taking advantage of the social wellness resources UVU Wellness has to offer.
UVU Wellness Programs is a university-sponsored institution dedicated to assisting students in all areas of health and personal wellness. Located in room 211 of the Student Life building, student interns and professionals work together to provide health screenings, presentations, behavior counseling, and other personal assistance to inquiring students.
These efforts are categorized into seven aspects of wellness, including intellectual, emotional, physical, spiritual, social, and nutritional wellnesses.
Currently, UVU Wellness Programs hosts two events focused on improving students’ social wellness: “Healthy Relationships,” a program designed to help students develop and maintain fulfilling relationships with friends, family, and loved ones, and “Live Happy,” a program where students can “learn about the many definitions of happiness, the science of happiness…and how to cultivate long-and-short-term happiness.”
When asked about how UVU Wellness Programs could help lonely students, Emma Jensen, a UVU senior studying public health and interning at the Wellness Programs office, said, “I have loved all of our coachings! I think they are all super beneficial because they come from very reputable resources, and anything that we cannot answer, we will find a source for you.”
As this is Jensen’s second semester working as a Wellness Programs intern, she has not yet had the opportunity to coach the beforementioned programs, however, she has studied them and found them “very insightful and informative.” Jensen clarified that both programs are free, that they only last an hour, and that “they are really, really helpful programs.”
Jensen also volunteered personal advice she had for students who may be struggling with feelings of loneliness. “I have found that where I live has a big impact,” Jensen explained.
“So, my recommendation in terms of that is always to recommend going and touring [the apartment] and then, either before or after that tour, making the time to go meet people who live at the complex just to get a feel of what the complex is like,” stated Jensen.
Jensen also recommended that students know their roommates as well as possible before moving in with them in addition to being conscious of the pros and cons of single and shared room arrangements. Finally, Jensen recommended that new students make new friends by attending as many events as possible.
If you or a close friend are struggling with feelings of loneliness, try taking advantage of UVU Wellness Programs and other university-sponsored events. Most importantly, remember that you are not alone and that new friends are out there waiting to be found!