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Loneliness is far too big to squeeze into your tiny dorm room with you. A mere sentence on a fluorescent screen won't scare loneliness away. A Snapchat with "I miss u" won't get rid of him either. A phone call might remind loneliness to take five but he will inevitably return. What will cause this massive monster to evacuate?  

Letters. 

Sitting down to write a letter is daunting, I know. However, that's the hardest part: sitting down. Once you start, writing a letter is just like having a conversation, the conversation you need to have the most. You can say anything you desire, and a lot of times you'll end up saying more than you realized you wanted to. Some things just cannot be said over text message or DM or even on call. That random guy that passed you on the street you saw selling rip-off posters reminded you of the posters on your friend's ceiling, but you wouldn't just text that out of the blue. Include it in your letter.  You can also ask the questions you don't want to spring out of no where. How is their sick mom doing? Has that guy continued to be a jerkwad? With a letter, they will have time to sit down and formulate a response to convey precisely what they want leaving them feeling supported and not bombarded. 

The sparkling flicker in your chest when you receive a piece of mail, you are giving that and more to whoever you are sending the letter to. When going about a hectic day it is marvelous to find something in your mailbox, knowing that someone took their time to send it to you. Maybe, you will get the same back. However, do not send a letter with only the want to receive one back, that is a selfish path.  I have found that the timing in the US Postal system is something controlled not by traffic but by the universe. Letters often find people just when they were meant to. Imagine the feelings when you get a random text from someone dear to you, receiving an unanticipated letter is like that but electrified. 

Letters are better than texts because they can be sent with love, not just the little heart balloon that attaches to an iMessage. You can doodle in the margins: pigs wearing tutus, stick figure scenes, hearts. You can write side notes: make a stupid joke, define a word you made up, remind them of something that happened five years ago. You can add stickers! Just the fact that this letter is in your handwriting and not something automatically done for you by a piece of technology is a form of love. 

I am not saying letters replace texting or calling by any means. Letters are the big guns, your main line of defense against looming loneliness. Texts and calls are like helmets and kneepads, they will help in the moment but not long term. Placing a letter, brimming with love, in a mailbox is also incredibly rewarding. Hitting send on a text is something we do constantly. However, taking the time to write down thoughts, write out an address, place a stamp on the front, seal an envelope, and walk it to a mailbox gives a great feeling of accomplishment.

Loneliness is a beast, don't let him chill in your dorm room. Better yet, don't let him chill with your friends and family in their homes. Stop texting, start writing.

 

Image Credit: Eleanor Ritzman

Caroline is a student at VCU double majoring in theatre performance and psychology! Her favorite things include dance parties, chai lattes, and poetry.
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