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Why Loneliness is Okay, and Why I Founded Populus

By Sam Ross

I have tried countless times to begin writing an article that details why I founded Populus, but my motivations consisted of nothing more than loneliness and a desire to reduce this feeling for others.

I’m very close with my parents, and thus I’ve been fortunate enough to only ever feel lonely during my first year at University.  Eventually, I became tired of watching Netflix and phoning my parents for hours each night, and I decided I’d become busy.  A semester of busy-ness passed by, but by the end of it I was still angry at how isolated I had felt.

I was frustrated at how I insisted that I was the only person feeling lonely.  I couldn’t see past my own feelings, and I thought that everyone else was on a consistent high.   

Wrong.

No matter how many articles I read about University, before I had even arrived (yes, I was that keen bean), I was still convinced that no one would understand or share the same feelings. I was embarrassed to admit that I didn’t socialise as much as everyone else. To this day, I regret that I didn’t maintain contact with some people on the Class of 2019 Facebook page.

But loneliness is okay. While it is everywhere, the co op reports that 61% of people would feel uncomfortable confiding in their close friends that they have felt lonely. Quite simply, loneliness is okay because literally everyone has experienced it before. It is not an emotion to run away from, to live with or to feel intimidated by. It’s normal.

Obviously, no one wants to be lonely and neither did I. So I started Populus. I vented and ranted (in true Samantha style) to my loved ones, exclaiming how horrendous it was that people were going through this, that my closest University friends were currently or had previously been seriously afflicted by loneliness.

In its Sunday best, Populus is a social club. We hold events when and where possible. You can bring your friends, come on your own and chill out, or you can meet new people, the choice is yours.  Want to go to the cinema, but not on your own? Populus will have someone. Want to go to one big coffee date? Populus has one coming up in September. Want to meet new people? Come to our Speed Friending event, complete with ice breaker cards to cull the awkwardness.

The best bit about Populus? It isn’t just a club for lonely people, only our aims tackle loneliness. Populus means people, and that’s who it’s for, for all of us. So next time you see we are holding an event, take that step out of your room, even if it’s just for five minutes and the cake.

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