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June 3, 2019 | by  | in Mauri Ora | [ssba]

Mauri Ora: Fostering Connections

At university we are surrounded by new people all the time. Although the potential to meet new people is very exciting, it can also feel overwhelming and heighten existing feelings of loneliness.

Don’t be hard on yourself if you are finding it hard to reach out. Many people feel the same—research shows that young people feel more isolated than older adults. University students have a lot to juggle and it’s easy to avoid or prioritise other things over building connections with others.

But just like eating well, exercising, or making a study plan, building connections with others is important for wellness and mental health. It can help counteract feelings of loneliness and isolation and increase your sense of belonging, purpose, and self-worth. Friendships can also relieve stress and help you cope.

Why not set some time aside to foster connection?

The quality of friendships is important, as people with many social connections still report feeling lonely. Spend some time this week nurturing existing relationships. Reach out to an old friend and go for a walk together.

It can also be exciting and fulfilling to build new friendships. Try saying ‘hi’ to that person you sit by in tutorials each week but have never had an actual conversation with.

There are also places at Vic that offer opportunities to connect with others.

If you don’t quite feel up to talking people but would like to be in a social space and release some endorphins, try a group fitness class at the Recreation centre for $5 a casual class, or $4.99 for a weekly membership.
^https://www.victoria.ac.nz/students/get-involved/recreation-services

Wanting a safe, welcoming place where you can study, meet new people, and have a free hot drink or piece of fruit? Check out the Bubble! ^https://www.victoria.ac.nz/students/campus/health/wellbeing/the-bubble

Volunteering or joining a club is a great way to meet like-minded people. It’s not too late to check out what is available through Vic or in the community. ^https://www.victoria.ac.nz/students/campus/clubs/directory
^https://www.victoria.ac.nz/students/get-involved/volunteer

Reach out and see how it goes!

 

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