The transition between high school and college life is one of the toughest experiences a student has to go through. It not only feels like the start of a new chapter in life, but also the beginning of an entirely new book. So much has to be left behind. The people you’ve gotten to know throughout the years, the structured schedule that has become such a consistent piece of your daily routine, the familiar surroundings… All that changes in college, and it’s no wonder that loneliness is often a product of these drastic developments.
Being the new kid is hardly a stroll in the park, even if you’re one among hundreds of other freshmen. College is huge and overwhelming, and the high population of strangers there can definitely be nerve-wracking. One day you’re surrounded by classmates and friends you’ve known for practically half your life, and the next you’re suddenly part of a huge campus full of people you’ve never met in your life. And yet even though you’re in this giant mob, it’s easy to feel as if you’ve never been so alone. If that doesn’t sound terrifying, I don’t know what does.
It’s true that college doesn’t come without opportunities to meet new people, but making friends and starting all over again isn’t simple for everyone. Loneliness can stem from different reasons, some of the main causes for isolation being low self-confidence, busy schedules, and the overall slow progress of adjusting to such an immense change. All of these are understandable but not inescapable.
College life comes with social struggles, that’s for sure, and yet at the same time loneliness is not an insurmountable obstacle. So what should you do to attain the best shot at finding your place among all these ginormous crowds?
Remember that you’re less alone than it appears.
Think you’re the only person prone to loneliness and isolation? Think you’re the only college freshman who’s having trouble clicking in with their new lifestyle? Think again!
College is something that takes everyone time to get used to. New students arrive at campus every year, and chances are that the majority of them tend to feel out of place at first, too. This is completely normal. So guess what? Fearing your fellow classmates really isn’t necessary. Take a deep breath, walk up to them, and offer a simple “hello.” Make an extra effort to talk to new people. Instead of shooting you down, they’ll likely be thrilled with the new acquaintance, similar to the way you would be if someone came up and greeted you. You’re all in the same boat!
Get out there!
College is definitely a stressful place, there’s no doubt about it. Your work load is bound to go through considerable growth during your post-secondary experience, and it may just feel as if your professors have nothing better to do but dish out endless piles of assignments. With all this pressure to meet deadlines as well as keep up with such a fast paced environment, you may realize that you’re being left with less time to socialize.
As you advance further into the semester, pulling at your hair and worrying about your upcoming exams may also become more frequent activities, perhaps simply because studying seems like the only thing to do when you don’t know very many people. This, however, is not a healthy routine. Don’t be afraid to take your nose out of the textbooks once in a while, use a Friday night off, and feel free to go out for your personal interests. Even attending a college party or two helps to boost your social confidence and brings you into new groups. By engaging in a range of activities on and off campus, you’ll allow for smoother interaction with others. After all, with so many people around, you’re bound to click with a few of them eventually.
It’s incredibly important to maintain stable mental health as well as good marks. Finding the right balance between both your academic and social life is key to opening doorways to new relationships.
Expand your social circle in all directions.
While making your first several friends at college is satisfying and a great first step, it’s a good idea to not get stuck on a single group. Try your best to meet a wide range of people while still maintaining your older relationships. College is filled with so many unique individuals that it would be a shame not to get to know as many of them as possible. And if one thing’s for sure it’s that the road to college graduation isn’t always smooth, and what’s better than having steady support from different people you know to be reliable?
Make the best out of the situation!
We can all understand that homesickness is a common issue, especially if you moved a long way to your new college. It’s nothing less than human to miss the place and people you grew up with, but intense aching for the past often hinders you from moving forward. No matter how scary college may seem, it’s still full of wonderful opportunities and surprises waiting to be acknowledged. All you have to do is take the initiative and open your mind up to exploring them. Once you allow yourself to do that, you’ll have a better shot at embracing your college years
Live in the moment! Take advantage of all the wonderful resources, knowledge, and experiences around you. Be active and join any teams or organizations that may spark your interest, look into volunteer openings, and just don’t hold back! College life won’t be here forever, and it’s a time that you’ll probably reflect back on and appreciate in the future!
Hang in there.
Adjusting to big changes is easier for some people than for others, and this is absolutely okay. If you’re someone who takes more time to transition into new situations, don’t be too harsh on yourself. You’re probably not going to the most popular person on campus right off the bat, but what you really need is to give yourself time and just keep trying. Move out of your comfort zone step by step, build up more conversations each day, and try your best to be generally more approachable. If you truly put in the effort, the rest comes naturally.