If you aren’t in college yet, I know what you’re thinking- it’s a time to party, have fun, and embrace the nights you won’t remember with the people you won’t forget. Yet, the complete opposite happened to me. I found myself struggling to find people I clicked with. I found myself often eating alone in my room because I was afraid I wouldn’t have anyone to eat with in the dining hall. There were endless tears on my behalf because I thought I would never find any friends in college, and that I would be perpetually lonely and afraid. However, while college may not provide instant gratification in the friend department, the loneliness will seep away as time goes on. Here are five tips and ideas that I practiced that have helped me beat loneliness in college
1. Get Involved
I recently participated in the fall play at my college, and I met people I got along with very well since we all had a common interest in the arts. Joining different clubs allows you to find people that mesh with your personality. Colleges have a ton of clubs to be a part of, and most have a club fair in the beginning of the year, so finding an activity is made very easy and accessible.
2. Leave your door open!
I have always heard this tip, but never knew how effective it was. Now, I can vouch for it! My very first day of school, I left my dorm room door open. I was amazed at how many people on my floor poked their heads in to introduce themselves. One of the girls that did that actually became a very good friend of mine! I know it can be quite scary to put yourself out there so quickly, but I promise that it will be worthwhile once you become acquainted with your floor mates. This is one of the best ways to fight loneliness in college.
3. Ask to sit at a random table in the dining hall.
Now, I am aware that this sounds petrifying- walking up to strangers and asking “hey, can I sit with you guys?” is a nightmare for some students, especially if you don’t know who they are. But, I actually ended up asking to sit with a girl who was eating alone. We had a fabulous conversation, and discovered that we had a common interest in music. Who knows, she may have felt lonely that day as well, and having someone to eat lunch with, especially in the beginning of our college careers, may have cured her fears as well as mine. It’s definitely a bold move, but once you take the chance, you are bound to meet people with similar interests. If you are feeling loneliness in college, put yourself out there.
4. Call your parents/guardians
I know many of you are probably eager to get out of the house and live on your own, but don’t forget who provided for you the past eighteen years. Your parents/guardians only want the best for you, and are eager to hear about your college experience. If you miss them, feel lonely, or need advice, give them a call and explain your situation. They may have been through similar issues if they attended college, and might be able to give you excellent advice. My parents have been my lifeline in college, and while I am growing up, I know that I could not do this without them. This is one of those tips for loneliness in college that go a long way.
5. It’s okay to be alone.
Loneliness and being alone are two different things- loneliness is unintentional isolation, and desiring the stimulation of being around others. Yet, being alone is purposeful isolation, and sometimes much needed. It is perfectly okay to take time for yourself in college. You are constantly surrounded by students, and taking a break is completely normal. Go for a walk, sit outside, or find a relaxing spot on campus. Listen to music, read a book, or write in a journal.
Human beings do need to recharge once in a while, and it is perfectly acceptable if you need time to yourself before you can be around others. I know I had to learn the distinction between loneliness and being alone. However, once I realized what the difference was, I was able to discover great friendships while maintaining a healthy balance, and recharging my own mind and body as well. Loneliness in college isn’t uncommon so remember that.
Let us know what you think about loneliness in college in the comments below!
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"An avid baton twirler, poet, and advocate for people with disabilities. Forever a lover of food, drinking endless amounts of coffee, laughing at my own jokes, and embracing my quirky and authentic self."