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Winter Blues: UCLA’s Loneliness Epidemic

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

UCLA can be a lonely place. 

Whether it is because of the fast-paced quarter system, rigorous course load, solitary nature of the city, or ultra-competitive students, UCLA is isolating, which makes it hard to connect with other students. And I think many students can agree, as this TikTok inspired me to write this piece.


Let’s talk about the loneliness epidemic here at UCLA because this is an ever growing problem and I think there’s a lot of reasons as to why it’s so prevelant #ucla #loneliness

♬ original sound – Sophia

It is universally acknowledged that most students, especially those who are STEM majors, are highly competitive. When professors curve tests down, they cultivate a highly competitive environment ripe for competition and aggression. Not only are students trying to improve their grades, but they are trying to beat out other students, potentially setting others up for failure. This in turn halts potential connections that could be made to allow for mutual success for all students, not just the select few who study constantly and may lack a healthy social life. 

Rigorous course loads are also key to being successful in school and in the future. When we apply for medical school or future jobs, we all want to have a robust course load. It tells recruiters and hiring teams that “Hey, I worked hard, and these grades, this success in the classroom, shows that I can be successful and have the potential to do great things.” Whether or not this is true (it is up to you to decide), I think a lot of UCLA students load up on classes because that seems like the key to being successful, despite isolating themselves from their acquaintances, friends, and family. 

Additionally, the quarter system’s fast-paced nature doesn’t just stress out students, but it also makes academia and studying one’s life. Instead of studying to live, students live to study. From long hours in your favorite library, to having to say no to going out with friends because of an exam during the third week of school, students have to constantly be on top of their work or spend their last few weeks of the quarter holed up in their dorm room putting out papers or studying for tests last minute. And I think we all are victims of this. We put off other parts of our lives just to keep up, which greatly diminishes the health of our social connections and lives. 

You simply cannot fix UCLA’s loneliness problem in a day, but we should stop looking at this problem on the university level, but the individual level. For example, what events typically make you feel lonely versus the events that make you feel connected to other people? What does it look like for you to have a healthy social life, and what do people who you think have a solid social life do to put themselves in that situation? Simply put, the more you observe what other people do to feel less lonely and what makes you feel better emotionally, you can work on feeling less lonely. 

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Original Illustration by Sketchify in Canva

Now, for prospective students or students from other schools, this may seem like a huge problem. And it is. I have felt lonely many times on campus, and so have many people I know. It undercuts many of the social interactions I see on campus everyday, from acquaintances not wanting to say hi to each other in the halls to even the best of friends not wanting to take time to hang out. UCLA students seem socially tired and burnt out, and there may not be a quick fix or even any definitive solution to decrease students’ loneliness. However, I think we need to consider how we can feel less lonely by taking breaks from school and shifting our focus from competitive majors or classes. Whether that is having study groups with our best friends, connecting with people in our classes, or taking one less class each quarter, loneliness is the ultimate killer when it comes to our mental health, sanity, and success. At the end of the day, we are studying at a prestigious institution with thousands of intelligent students, and competing with one another, while it may pay off slightly in our careers or future schooling, may not be worth sacrificing the social connections we make during our time at UCLA.

Calina is a second year Communication Studies major and Global Studies minor at UCLA from Santa Cruz, California. In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, going to the beach, exploring new places, and spending time with friends.