Morgan’s story: My experience with shared housing and feelings of isolation at university

This content mentions loneliness or isolation, which some people may find triggering.

Morgan is a current university student who had a difficult time when living in shared university housing. Morgan talks about her experience to reassure you, you are not alone if you are going through similar struggles.

When you speak to people about their experiences at university, you usually get a mixture of exam stress, drinking stories, and gushing about new friends. But are we all being honest with each other? I know that I probably haven’t been. My first and second years of university have been some of the most isolating periods of my life, I didn’t know how to get through them… but I now know that we can get through this together.  

I started my first year of university in September 2021, freshly 19, and just getting over the effects of covid on my education – as well as the effects on my social life. I remember a mixture of excitement, and nausea, and an overwhelming sense of freedom I’d never experienced before. However, this freedom brought with it a sense of isolation. I never gelled properly with my flatmates, and I felt awkward around new people. It was the first time I’d had to make new friends in years! However, on my first proper day at university I met some cool people I could see myself being friends with. I felt completely settled for a few weeks; but with the darker and colder months coming in, my nights in Manchester became more and more isolating and my mood was more and more low.

A quote from the blog is displayed: "It can feel very difficult to start fresh at university and find your balance while you feel isolated. But there is hope, and there are so many people in the same boat as you". There is a building in the background showing students appearing in different windows.

I moved home and began commuting in the second semester of my first year and felt a lot happier. However, I got a house with my friends from university and was determined to start fresh in my second year and make more of an effort. I applied for a position as a Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) Leader and tried my best to get more involved in my department. I was successful and felt excited to meet my colleagues in September.  

When I moved into my house with my friends from first year, it was not at all what I expected. Living with people is very different to being friends with them! All of my housemates dropped out of university, and I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb in the house with them. My experience in the house upset me because I wanted the full university house experience of living with your best friends. I wanted to be doing everything together, but I soon realised that people don’t always have the same experiences of university living. I learnt that you need to find the best in every situation. I joined societies and spent more time with different people up at university and soon found a great support system in my friends and colleagues on the PAL scheme, as well as the wider university.  

It can feel very difficult to start fresh at university and find your balance while you feel isolated. But there is hope, and there are so many people in the same boat as you. Even if none of us talk about it! We can get through this together.

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