Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Wellness > Mental Health

Joining Four Clubs Won’t Lessen Your Pandemic Loneliness

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

When I started college this past fall, I knew I would face challenges when making friends. Usually, I am an outgoing person and can strike up a conversation with just about anyone. However, due to the pandemic, all of my socializing moved online. To suppress my loneliness, I decided to join as many campus clubs as possible, even if it seemed burdensome. Five months later, I am almost embarrassed to say that I didn’t make nearly as many friends as I thought. 

I currently write for two student publications, volunteer for a non-profit organization, and participate in faith-based events. If someone looked at my planner, they would think I am a total social butterfly. While I may be busy, that does not mean I have a flourishing social life. Most of my club meetings on Zoom are strictly business only. Occasionally, we’ll play a game of online Pictionary during a meeting. Still, most club members are not ecstatic to spend another hour on Zoom after a full day of online classes. Socializing in a pandemic world is, quite frankly, exhausting.

Photo by United Nations COVID-19 Response on Unsplash

Even on days when I have a great time making new friends in a round of online speed friending – speed dating but in a non-romantic way–– leaving a Zoom meeting gives me an unparalleled feeling of isolation. I am left staring blankly at the computer screen, my eyes twitching slightly from the blue light. A wave of regret washes over me as I realize that I forgot to ask for someone’s Instagram handle; asking for social media handles is one of the only ways to connect with others these days. I have a mini existential crisis in my desk chair: was it a mistake to join these clubs in the first place if I can’t make a single friend?  

The answer is obviously no. Campus organizations do not always have to be about forming friendships. During this pandemic, clubs have given me an outlet for self-expression, a way to advocate for important issues, and a space to speak with others in my community. However, even the most involved person will feel lonely. In the end, online communication just does not compare to in-person interactions; it’s less fulfilling. While getting involved won’t fully cure feelings of isolation and sadness, it adds some much-needed human interaction into my day, even if it’s just for a half-hour. 




Stephanie Gerson is a first-year student studying Art History at UC Santa Barbara. She is from Palo Alto, California and she is passionate about sustainability, fashion, fitness, and vegan cooking. In her spare time, Stephanie loves going on bike rides around campus, catching up with friends, or spending hours completing her latest embroidery piece!
 University of California, Santa Barbara chapter of Her Campus