First Year Blues: Handling Loneliness

It’s no joke that moving away to college is a big step in our lives. Leaving home, living without our parent’s watchful eye, free reign over our own credit cards ... it's both exciting and terrifying at the same time. It's no help that while you navigate your way through the pitfalls of frosh, midterms, and life in residence, a little shadow called loneliness lurks in every corner, threatening to jump out at you at any time. And when it hits you, it hits hard. 

That's exactly what happened to me in my first year. I made until the end of October distracting myself until one day I suddenly realized that I was thousands of miles away from my parents and old friends and everything else I had ever known as "life" before. It was a terrifying realization. I immediately called my mom and cried. Which brings me to my first piece of advice with handling loneliness in your first year at McGill. 

Call Your Parents

This may seem like a no-brainer but you would be surprised at just how many college kids will avoid talking to their parents unless absolutely necessary. You don't have to sit down and talk to them for a long time if you don't want to, but you'd be surprised that sometimes listening to their overbearing advice and stories from home will bring you a sense of familiarity and comfort. Just as there is no place like home, there are no people quite like the ones at home either. 

Join Clubs or Teams 

Another well-loved, overused piece of advice you have probably heard a hundred times before and during your first year, but for good reason. It's easy to get caught up in a routine of going to class, going home to take a nap, and never participating in anything other than watching that brand new movie on Netflix. But some of the best friends and relationships you'll end up making are the ones with people who share interests with you. So you like to debate? There are a couple hundred other students involved in the debate team who you have a shot at becoming friends with. Check out the SSMU activities night to discover all the possible clubs and teams you can join on campus! 

Attend Events 

You’ll quickly realize that your professors and fellow students will advertise a lot of after class events and activities in honour of different clubs and organizations. It’s really easy to pass up on the opportunity to go when you want to go home instead, but going to that wine and cheese party or reading of your professor's favorite epic poem at a local bar gives you the chance to get to know and develop relationships with your fellow peers and some of your professors. Don't limit your friendships just to the people you met in your frosh group!


Get Out of Your Room 

You've probably noticed that a lot of this advice just involves getting out there. But it's so true! It can be so easy to lock yourself up in your room (especially if you have a single) and “study” while avoiding the rest of the world, but this is also the easiest excuse to avoiding human contact which will only end up making you feel more alone. Instead of studying in your room, study in the library or in a cafe. Instead of eating in your bed watching To All The Boys I've Loved Before, make an effort to eat with friends or at least in a social area where you have the opportunity to make friends. Another good way to avoid this is to organize study groups with fellow students from your classes, so you can study while still developing new relationships with others even if it's only so you guys can pass your classes. 

Get Tutoring

This one is the perfect way to knock out two issues at once - if you need help with a class and are feeling kind of lonely, getting a tutor can help with both. You get both help with your studies from someone who understands the subject better than you and social interaction at the same time. That's two for the price of one! 

Get Off Your Phone

By far one of the biggest but most often ignored of all is to turn off your phone and log off social media. Nothing makes the feeling of being alone worse than scrolling through your Instagram and seeing your friends from home hanging out or other people at McGill going to parties and events while you lay in your bed for the third Friday night in a row. Taking the time to get off social media is a good mental cleanse that will also help you feel less lonely when you’re by yourself. 


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