Ideas about student belonging and loneliness occurred against a background of broader changes to education, attitudes to mental health, the composition of the student body, the expansion of the universities, and expectations of university life. The following sources can be used to understand how concerns surfaced at particular historical moments – for example, concern about student retention across the 1960s.
Belonging, induction and freshers’ weeks
Universities and students’ unions have long sought to cultivate a sense of belonging and to introduce students to university life. The sources below are a snapshot of some of the ways that this induction has been conducted and reflected upon in the past. What has changed and what has stayed the same? They are taken from student newspapers. For more on the use of student-produced materials as sources, see https://nus100.nus.org.uk/researching-student-histories-workshop-series/.
Loneliness and isolation at university are not new. The following articles from student newspapers are a small sample of how past students have articulated the emotional experiences attached to a lack of belonging at university.