Living away from home on a college campus away from family can be a lonely experience sometimes. Here is the prescription for the lonely college student, along with some reasons to embrace loneliness at this time.
CONNECT WITH YOUR ROOMMATE. It may feel awkward moving into a dorm room or apartment with a stranger. You will either bond with your roommate right off or get closer to each other after a good span of time. Either way, having a good, sociable roommate is good for helping loneliness. See how much commonality lies between you two, and make plans to go to campus events, have lunch together, or just have genuine, honest conversations during the day. Loneliness may look like a lack of physical presence, but it’s more an emotional thing. You can feel lonely in a room full of people but have no connection to anyone. So having good conversations with your roommate is imperative when getting rid of loneliness.
ATTEND CAMPUS EVENTS. Scope out that campus activities calendar and see what events pop out at you! There you will meet like-minded students who possibly share your interests. In situations like this, it is easier to strike up conversations with others with starters such as, “Hi, so what led you to come here?” It will give you a chance to mingle with others and talk about the event, and establish connections that may eventually lead to friendships.
JOIN STUDENT CLUBS. This is one of the biggest ways to diminish feelings of loneliness. Most campuses have various student organizations that cater to each student’s needs and interests. Joining a student club of your liking will help you connect with other students with similar interests, beliefs, pursuits, and talents. Because the common ground is already established, all you must do is build the connection from the foundation! For instance, if you join a Student Photography Club, you can ask some other folks how long they have been practicing photography, what their favorite subjects are, or what inspired them.
BEFRIEND SOME CLASSMATES. What classes are you taking right now? Other than learning, the classroom is a viable opportunity to bond with other classmates. Try talking with those sitting around you before class begins. Take advantage when the instructor tells you to “find a partner.” On the first day of class, when everyone goes around introducing themselves, find some people who have common interests with you and introduce yourself after class. Form a once-a-week study group. Have lunch with some students after class. Exchange contact information, just in case there’s any questions about the course, or just for some support.
TAKE A WALK. Exploring your campus is a unique way to meet people. As you walk around, see if there are any events going on that you are curious about. If anyone happens to begin talking to you during your walk—if you feel led and if you feel safe—talk back to them. Perhaps if you take a walk with the intention of meeting others, that is what will happen.
But loneliness isn’t always a negative thing. Here’s where moments of loneliness can lead you…especially in college:
- Self-discovery.When you find yourself alone with no other physical presence nearby, focus inward. Look at where you are in life and think about what you really want to do post-college. Focus on what you want to do and not what others expect of you. Think about your interests and passions and how you can creatively engage in them.
- Look at loneliness as a time to decompress. College is filled with deadlines, responsibilities, and peer pressure. Being alone with no stressors is a great way to relax.
- Getting it done!If you’re more productive by yourself, a moment of loneliness could turn into a moment of productivity. Without the distraction of others, getting your work and projects finished is easier.
- Being away from home breeds independence by itself. But learning how to be content by yourself gives you social independence. Then, you won’t need to depend solely on the presence of others to make you happy.
Decide whether you want to overcome loneliness or embrace it!