“You are going to love college”
“The best 4 years of my life”
I heard both of these statements and more when I was in my senior year of high school. Growing up in America, college is expected and you tend to look strange if you disagree or would rather do something else. Society has normalized immediately moving away fresh out of high school, knowing exactly what you want to do, and having a well-thought out plan at 18. For some, this sounds great, new, and exciting. For others, it can be too much too soon. All of this is what I think contributes to the feeling of being lonely.
Loneliness in college is not talked about enough because it feels weird to even be lonely in the first place. Everyone loves college, right? It is supposed to be the best 4 years of my life, right? I’m supposed to make all of these friends and make a bunch of lifelong memories, right? All of this pressure put on yourself to love college can backfire a lot. This is why the summer before my freshman year I was scared. I put all of this pressure on myself and everyone around me only wanted to talk about college. After summer passed and August came, I walked into my first class. Everyone was on their phones and it was so silent that you could hear a pin drop in the room. The silence was eerie and baffling to me. “I thought this was college, the most exciting time of your life, correct?” No, that is not true or even close to true for some people, and that’s ok. Maybe everyone does not thrive in college, especially their first year.
If you are dealing with loneliness, there are many solutions you can turn to. Almost all colleges have counseling that is free. (For CCU students, information about counseling can be found here: https://www.coastal.edu/counseling/.) Getting professional help can provide insight on your emotions that you may have never thought of. 41.2% of students in America have gone to a counselor of some sort throughout their education. Therapy has worked wonders for me and is something that people with any kind of mental issue should turn to first.
Along with therapy, getting involved in clubs can help. Being around a community of people can help the feeling of lonilesses. In addition, a club also provides a familiarity with a hobby or interest you may have. Clubs in college have helped me have an outlet to express myself, my feelings, and my thoughts. Personally, being a part of Her Campus has helped me expand my creativity and has given me a way to verbalize what I am passionate about.
The last piece of advice that has helped loneliness for me is keeping in touch with my friends and family. Making sure I talk to my friends helps me know we still have that close friendship, and nothing has changed with us since high school. My friends also provide great advice and help keep me accountable in certain aspects of my life. Along with my friends, keeping in touch with my family helps to keep me grounded and helps to keep them in the loop. Growing up in a close family, I know just how important it is to foster that relationship.
While these tips are helpful and can be a lifesaver for many, maybe college is not your thing. Despite what society tells you, you can prefer high school over college, and that is completely okay. Your experiences and opinions matter! It may not be the best 4 years of your life, it may just be 4 years of your life in general. Although, implementing these tips can help you combat any negative emotions even though it may take some time. You could be going to counseling and not see major results until months in, and that is completely normal. There are not many things that change instantly or overnight, so just give it time. You made it this far, so you can get through it. Just remember that if you are dealing with loneliness, you are not truly alone. It will get better.