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How Can We Find Peace within Loneliness as We Head Back to Campus?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at San Francisco chapter.

College students fail to realize that loneliness is expected as we enter the school year. It’s a natural and human feeling. We all “feed off of each other’s energies”. When there’s no energy around to feed off, that’s when we start to feel lonely and isolated. This could also sometimes lead to us being susceptible to “starvation” or better said, depression. For some, the feeling of loneliness creates a dark lens on the world, but there’s an art to becoming at peace with being alone that can help steer us away from “starvation” as best as we can. 

Being able to find joy within your independence and seclusion can help you put yourself out there and be more open minded. As we take these solo walks to the campus coffee shop or to the grocery store, practice embracing the silence. Use the silence as a helping hand in recognizing and appreciating the little things. Some privileges we can acknowledge:  

  • Living near a coffee shop or grocery store 
  • The Ability to listen to music through your headphones 
  • The scenery around you like clouds, grass and trees 
  • Attending a university, community college, or working a full-time job 

We easily get caught up in conversation when we constantly surround ourselves with others as we do these small day to day tasks. Conversation distracts us from the small yet significant treasures around us. As we practice appreciation, we will soon circle into appreciating ourselves. Our ability to walk to the store by ourselves is something to be valued and noticed, as is the ability to pay for your own coffee. These are all examples of acknowledging our independence, something we might not have all had before we entered college. From move in day to now, we have all adapted a sense of self-taught independence. This is something to be proud of. Recognizing your ability to adapt to new environments on your own is one of the easiest steps to take in hopes of finding inner peace regarding loneliness. 

Another practice that can help us cope with our feelings of isolation is learning to enjoy your own company, or in more simplified terms, learning to love yourself! If the lack of making friends and meeting new people on your campus is something that contributes to that isolated feeling you can often get convinced that you lack something, or that you’re different from those around you. This can be harmful to our amount of self-love and contribute to our self-doubt. When we experience self-doubt, it does become harder for us to meet new people or start new conversations. This is because we become blocked off from the rest of the energies around us. If we feel doubtful about ourselves, we’ll start to feel doubtful about everyone. Doubting yourself and others leads to: 

  • Lack of trust 
  • Anxiety 
  • Awkwardness 
  • Stress 

Learning to believe in ourselves and gaining confidence in our communication skills can help us detach from that anxiety and lack of trust and help us improve our conversational skills. 

As college students we’re susceptible to feeling lonely as soon as the school year starts. We see social media posts of partying and see our old classmates meeting an abundance amount of people all at once. This forces us to question our personalities and communication skills. These are our introductions to self-doubt. However, just because some might be moving at a slower pace than others doesn’t mean they’re behind. There’s no harm in taking time to form relationships or start new conversations. In fact, taking more time to socialize can easily lead to meeting people who present long lasting relationships or connections.

Practicing self-love, self-acceptance and appreciation are all ways to contribute to the art of finding peace within loneliness. Exercise, clubs, and meditation are all helpful ways to help distract us from loneliness, but the best way to find stability within our new situation is to find peace with being alone and independent. Embracing your own company while staying open minded about your own abilities are the first steps into embracing loneliness as harmonious.

Livia Williams

San Francisco '26

Hello! My name is Livia Williams I am currently a second year at SFSU majoring in journalism. I am a huge advocate for social justice issues and find pride in addressing the inequality that sadly still exists within our societies. I like to tell stories from women all over the world and captivate readers into understanding the obstacles they face on a day to day basis. I hope to provide women with a sense of peace when they read my work and gift them with the realization that they are not alone, and we are all in this together.