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Moving to college can be quite a shock, especially if you’ve gone somewhere where you don’t already know people. Constantly seeing people posting on social media with all their new friends can be overwhelming, especially if you feel like you haven’t found that for yourself yet. Here are three steps that will help you navigate any loneliness you may be experiencing:

Know that social media is not real

What you see online usually isn’t all that real. Everyone adjusts differently to new places, and some choose to show only the good parts of it, concealing the bad moments. The people you see constantly together smiling and laughing? They probably aren’t like that all the time. Nobody goes on social media wanting to see other people crying and studying all the time, so nobody posts those things, even if that is what they are doing most of the time. Realizing that you are not alone in the way that you feel makes the feeling less hurtful. Even if it feels like you’re the only one feeling lonely, you are not.

@deuxmoi, Canva
get your feelings out

Especially when you’re in the beginning phases of making friends, it can feel like you have nobody to talk to about the harder things in life. Keeping those feelings bottled up will only lead to them overflowing at the worst time possible (I know from experience). Instead of unloading to people you hardly know, treat yourself to a cute notebook, and write down what you’re feeling. It’s awkward at first and can sometimes feel pointless, but you’ll learn that it is the best way to get your feelings out productively. Getting negative feelings out leads to a more positive mindset overall, which helps prevent feelings of loneliness. Now you can focus on positive things instead of wallowing on the negative.

do things that bring you joy

Go out. Alone. Do those things that you would want to do with friends, even if there is nobody with you. It’s scary and uncomfortable at first, but throw on some of your favorite songs and pretend it’s a movie montage when you walk down the street. As you start going out alone more often, you’ll start feeling more comfortable. It takes some getting used to, but being able to live independently is one of the best feelings in the world. Try it — do something alone! Soon, the new people in your life become gifts and not necessities, which makes the time you spend with them even more enjoyable.

I hope this guide helps you transition to the new environments that college brings!

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Nina is a freshman at Boston University studying Journalism and Computer Science. You can find her having dance parties in her dorm, scouring the city for the best cafe, and making random Pinterest boards.
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