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Finding Comfort In Solitude: It’s Okay To Feel Lonely

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at West Chester chapter.

I have a secret. I am extremely lonely, and I love it. Well, sometimes. 

If you’re reading this with a confused crease in your eyebrows, I bet you’re wondering how on earth I could feel so lonely in one of the most sociable environments in the world: college. Don’t worry, we’ll get there.

First, I’m curious how many of you may have shared with me, a former naive high school student who was always in good company, this exact depiction of college: establishing an unbreakable bond with your roommate, forming an instantaneous friend group, and making lifelong memories that you would tell your children about one day. Sound familiar? Given these hopeful standards that I held college to, you can imagine my disappointment when I wasn’t immediately embraced by my future bridesmaids the minute I stepped onto campus. I didn’t form that promising, unbreakable sisterhood with my roommate. I wasn’t accepted into a fun group of lifelong friends like I had hoped. Surely, my future children would not care about the mundane memories I was collecting. Despite my outgoing efforts, no amount of extracurriculars or parties seemed to fill this void.

I often found myself staring in awe at the girls who had seamlessly clicked into their rightful communities. I peered in envy at the groups in the dining hall who had already established inside jokes with one another. They look like they’re having fun, I would think to myself. My life at school became unbearably quiet, as did I. 

A few semesters had passed, and the crippling self-pity and despair had worn off. When I learned to simply relish the silence, I was left with pure contentment and peace. I grew a tremendous appreciation for independence and the wondrous things it taught me about myself. I learned to cherish my quiet nights while the rest of my classmates went out. That’s not to say I didn’t have friends, but I learned that it’s better to have 2 close friends than 30 acquaintances who don’t even know my last name. 

At times, I would even find myself growing irritated if someone had tried to make plans with me. Some would argue that I became too accustomed to the seclusion. Sure, you could look at it that way. You are at liberty to label me as an antisocial freak who had no choice but to befriend herself. That choice is entirely up to you. I choose to view my experience as an era of self-growth and introspection in which I learned to thrive in an environment created to challenge me.

So, if you’re feeling stuck in this awkward limbo of unsettling silence, here’s my advice to you: embrace it. And, if the silence becomes too loud, I’ve got you covered:

  1. Pick up a new hobby! The time I spent alone allowed me to rediscover my love for reading. I sailed through every genre and heavily abused my Barnes and Noble account.
  2. Focus on your health! How lucky are you to be granted this era of uninterrupted self-improvement? Find what stabilizes you. For me, it was running. A quick jog would typically do the trick and help ground me in the here and now.
  3. Take yourself out on a date! Yes, you read that correctly. After all, you can’t find much better company than yourself. In fact, some of my fondest university memories have come from my solo cafe dates. A solid read paired with a decent latte was all I needed to gain some clarity.
  4. Understand that loneliness is a normal feeling in college! You may feel alone, but you certainly aren’t. This is a daunting topic to approach for most students due to its raw and candid nature, so it may seem like nobody else is carrying this weight around. Feeling lonely can be scary, but addressing it is terrifying. Having the courage to bring it to discussion is a brilliant first step towards independence and personal growth. 

So, have I convinced you? If you’re not completely sold on the idea of solitude, especially at such a fragile and formative age, I cannot fault you. However, I urge you to ask yourself when the next time you’ll be offered this opportunity for self-discovery will be. When is the next time you get the chance to look within yourself and truly unearth who you are? All that being said, don’t let my romantic perspectives stop you from sitting in a pool of self-pity if that’s truly what you desire. I have a date with myself to get to, anyway.

Riley Thornton

West Chester '26

Riley is a sophomore secondary English education student at West Chester University. When she is not pursuing her passion for writing and literature, she can be found jogging around campus, discovering new coffee shops, or binging "Friends" for the 20th time! Riley enjoys exploring the grounds of pop culture, mental health, current trends, and popular reads!