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College Is Making Me Feel So Lonely. What Should I Do To Cope?

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  • College Is Making Me Feel So Lonely. What Should I Do To Cope?

    Going to college is a very exciting time but can also result in feelings of loneliness and isolation as you adjust to a totally new way of life.

    Even though I got into the college of my dreams, I was overwhelmed with loneliness as I tried to make new friends and adjust to dorm life.

    Have you or are you currently dealing with college loneliness? I'd love to hear about your experience and what you are doing or did to cope.

    I wrote an article on my own experience with college loneliness and isolation and the things I did to eventually find my place there.

    You can read it here:

    https://www.womens-health.com/loneliness-in-college

    Share your own stories so that we can connect meaningfully with others in similar situations.
    Editor’s Note: This forum post is part of our ongoing series The Roots Of Loneliness Project: Unearthing Why We Feel Alone, the first-of-its-kind directory that comprehensively explores the phenomenon of loneliness and 80+ types that we might experience over the course of our lives.

    Click the link to find resources and information on virtually any form of loneliness you may be personally experiencing.
    Last edited by Ashlee T.; 04-20-2020, 07:50 AM.

  • I don't go to college myself. But I did go a long time ago for a year long work skills course. And I felt lonely, too. I made friends, but still felt lonely.

    I think this thread is a great idea: because everyone starting or doing college may be able to relate. Plus - unless you're older - everyone feels out of their depth sometimes. BUT college can be great and making friends is totally doable. It just takes courage and inner strength to make that change and deal with loneliness in a constructive way.

    Comment


    • Wow, that's a long time for a course! I think being in a different environment can definitely trigger loneliness, especially if it means needing to make new friends.

      I'm out of college now, and I definitely go out of my way to tell current college students to reach out to others and to be aware of how much time they're spending alone. It sounds silly, but it took me a little while to realize how much time I was actually spending alone. When I did realize how often I was alone, though, I slowly started to make changes.

      Originally posted by Popcorn&Candy View Post
      I don't go to college myself. But I did go a long time ago for a year long work skills course. And I felt lonely, too. I made friends, but still felt lonely.

      I think this thread is a great idea: because everyone starting or doing college may be able to relate. Plus - unless you're older - everyone feels out of their depth sometimes. BUT college can be great and making friends is totally doable. It just takes courage and inner strength to make that change and deal with loneliness in a constructive way.

      Comment


      • At age 47, I've returned to college. I didn't feel lonely until the recent transition,forcibly, to all online classes. There are a couple other non-traditional students in my group, so it was easy to connect. We had a great group of ladies sharing difficulties with the process and transition from full time employment and career, to full time student and a whole new lifestyle. Now, it's texts or phone calls and those are infrequent. We're all struggling in our own ways.

        The younger students that I've connected with seem to be in the same predicament. Many were dorm students that were eventually booted out and back to their hometowns, often hundreds of miles away, some even from abroad. A few had difficulty finding housing in the time the college determined they must vacate.

        I am not a home-body. I do not thrive in the online classroom world. I am increasingly distracted and less interested in the coursework and my self-discipline is being tested. It is overwhelmingly depressing at times, which is, I think, the cause of my waning interest. Generally, I'm passionate about my studies, but this is trying my mental health

        Thankfully, I am working so I have that as my lifeline. Some have been laid off and are 100% isolated. We cannot gather in our study groups or share things that work for us.

        So, this is definitely a different time. I think this time in college life is more isolating and lonely for us all.

        Comment


        • That’s great that you’ve returned to college, though I can imagine how lonely online classes can feel! My younger brother is currently in college and, as you said, I think the transition has been difficult for traditional and non-traditional students alike.

          I’m glad that you have work as a distraction of sorts! I don’t know anyone whose mental health hasn’t been impacted at least a bit by the social distancing. Even though it’s necessary, I think it’s really important to connect with others how we can and share the ways in which we’ve been impacted.

          Originally posted by atskitty2 View Post
          At age 47, I've returned to college. I didn't feel lonely until the recent transition,forcibly, to all online classes. There are a couple other non-traditional students in my group, so it was easy to connect. We had a great group of ladies sharing difficulties with the process and transition from full time employment and career, to full time student and a whole new lifestyle. Now, it's texts or phone calls and those are infrequent. We're all struggling in our own ways.

          The younger students that I've connected with seem to be in the same predicament. Many were dorm students that were eventually booted out and back to their hometowns, often hundreds of miles away, some even from abroad. A few had difficulty finding housing in the time the college determined they must vacate.

          I am not a home-body. I do not thrive in the online classroom world. I am increasingly distracted and less interested in the coursework and my self-discipline is being tested. It is overwhelmingly depressing at times, which is, I think, the cause of my waning interest. Generally, I'm passionate about my studies, but this is trying my mental health

          Thankfully, I am working so I have that as my lifeline. Some have been laid off and are 100% isolated. We cannot gather in our study groups or share things that work for us.

          So, this is definitely a different time. I think this time in college life is more isolating and lonely for us all.

          Comment


          • atskitty2 - You've pointed out one of the most interesting observations I've noticed during this time.....the sheer differences in personalities. And I wonder how differently things would be if we did not know this was temporary.

            Because I KNOW this is temporary, I'm basking in it. I mean...short of unemployment when will I ever have this opportunity again to be at home, to wake up naturally, to work during my most productive hours and do other enjoyable life things during the less productive work hours, to bird watch, to take a break midday to work in my garden, etc? It's such sweet freedom and welcomed bliss for me. But, it suits my personality style and as well-suited as it is for ME....it's equally as NOT well-suited for others.

            I'm interested to see what it does to student performance. Self-discipline is a virtue! But universities have spent SO many years now focused on enrollment and retention, as opposed to quality of education and capabilities of the students, that degrees have become watered down with people who had their hands held throughout their education and would've NEVER done it on their own. I suspect the same will be bound to occur even with the now online courses.

            "Be what you're looking for."

            Comment


            • I totally agree that knowing this is temporary is immensely helpful, and your mindset towards it can make a big difference! I'm an introvert, so having time at home is nice! I do get a bit anxious, but I know my extroverted friends are struggling more without contact with others.

              I think many traditional college students are probably having a bit of a hard time adjusting to life back home; I know coming home was always a bit of an adjustment. You get used to going where you want when you want at school, and with so few places anyone can go now, life looks different for them.

              I know some universities are offering pass/fail options on classes, so hopefully that will be helpful. I think most colleges recognize that this is a big adjustment for most students. Still, students definitely will definitely have to practice self-discipline and time management, and I know that's not the easiest thing for some, especially if you're at home.

              Originally posted by Ashlee T. View Post
              atskitty2 - You've pointed out one of the most interesting observations I've noticed during this time.....the sheer differences in personalities. And I wonder how differently things would be if we did not know this was temporary.

              Because I KNOW this is temporary, I'm basking in it. I mean...short of unemployment when will I ever have this opportunity again to be at home, to wake up naturally, to work during my most productive hours and do other enjoyable life things during the less productive work hours, to bird watch, to take a break midday to work in my garden, etc? It's such sweet freedom and welcomed bliss for me. But, it suits my personality style and as well-suited as it is for ME....it's equally as NOT well-suited for others.

              I'm interested to see what it does to student performance. Self-discipline is a virtue! But universities have spent SO many years now focused on enrollment and retention, as opposed to quality of education and capabilities of the students, that degrees have become watered down with people who had their hands held throughout their education and would've NEVER done it on their own. I suspect the same will be bound to occur even with the now online courses.

              Comment


              • I need the structure of physically going to class, on a schedule and then the atmosphere of the library for studying. At home, I can clean, I can do yardwork, I can cook, I can do SO many other important things, and lose track of time.
                I need the separation of space. I need a dedication of space, that I cannot achieve in my own home office. I'm **still** in my home office, and changing the mindset for learning, is just hard.

                I had a job for a short time that allowed us to work from home, and I did just fine with that. For some reason, it was just different for me. For the process of learning, I need the change of environment. I need to have the availability of the Lab models, the cadavers, the professors just a few steps away for questions, and any additional texts I may need to access in the library to reinforce concepts. It's just not the same at home.

                Comment


                • For me, college was often lonely for a lot of reasons :
                  • my college was about 3000 miles from home (which at first seemed like a great idea!);
                  • I went to college with my best friend at the time, only to find out that his mom switched our dorm rooms without us knowing so we weren't initially even roommates (the entire reason we decided to go together! Thanks mom...)
                  • He then got sucked into the time-warp of a frat, and I essentially lost my friend
                  • I then had SAD which at the time, I didn't know was a thing, growing up in a tropical place, it was never something I thought about or knew anything about!
                  • I worked at a single coverage store in a mall for money, and would often open at 9 AM and work till 9PM straight -- if I had to use the bathroom, I had to close the gate on the store and run fast! Needless to say, some weekends I would work Friday night from 6-10, Saturday from 9-9, and Sunday from 9-6 -- I was TOAST because it was a sales job and took a heavy toll on my introverted nature to be in public and talking that long for that many days without a break...
                  • I then felt a heavy dose of "get me outta here" -- whereby I felt that life was happening OUT THERE for everyone else, while I'm in this artificial place learning stuff that I would never use while my life was on hold...If it weren't for being in my junior year when I realized how much I hated school and traditional learning, I would have quit -- but I'm the type that sees things through, so thankfully I graduated.
                  All of that and more, made college and often lonely experience...It's not a sympathetic story that I'm telling, just a truthful one in relating to the loneliness that can grab us during these very formative years.

                  Thanks everyone for sharing and understanding!

                  Comment


                  • my choice was between 2 places/2 different majors
                    made mistake of picking huge university cause I could room with best friend

                    she made friends with others in dorm so rarely did anything with her
                    as an introvert counted too much on having my friend there always

                    after a couple yrs, transferred to a smaller university & was able to make friends there

                    Comment


                    • Ah, going to college when you're going away from home can be really difficult, especially when you expected that your friend would stick around. Having an undiagnosed condition makes things worse, too, I'm sure. I also definitely get what you mean about being "done" with people after a little while, especially as an introvert!

                      I hope you feel less lonely now where you are in life! I appreciate you sharing your experiences; it's interesting to hear how different yet similar everyone's experiences are.

                      Originally posted by JonnyR View Post
                      For me, college was often lonely for a lot of reasons :
                      • [****]my college was about 3000 miles from home (which at first seemed like a great idea!);
                        [****]I went to college with my best friend at the time, only to find out that his mom switched our dorm rooms without us knowing so we weren't initially even roommates (the entire reason we decided to go together! Thanks mom...)
                        [****]He then got sucked into the time-warp of a frat, and I essentially lost my friend
                        [****]I then had SAD which at the time, I didn't know was a thing, growing up in a tropical place, it was never something I thought about or knew anything about!
                        [****]I worked at a single coverage store in a mall for money, and would often open at 9 AM and work till 9PM straight -- if I had to use the bathroom, I had to close the gate on the store and run fast! Needless to say, some weekends I would work Friday night from 6-10, Saturday from 9-9, and Sunday from 9-6 -- I was TOAST because it was a sales job and took a heavy toll on my introverted nature to be in public and talking that long for that many days without a break...
                        [****]I then felt a heavy dose of "get me outta here" -- whereby I felt that life was happening OUT THERE for everyone else, while I'm in this artificial place learning stuff that I would never use while my life was on hold...If it weren't for being in my junior year when I realized how much I hated school and traditional learning, I would have quit -- but I'm the type that sees things through, so thankfully I graduated.
                      All of that and more, made college and often lonely experience...It's not a sympathetic story that I'm telling, just a truthful one in relating to the loneliness that can grab us during these very formative years.

                      Thanks everyone for sharing and understanding!

                      Comment


                      • I'm glad that you were able to find friends at the smaller college! I definitely thought I was going to want to go to a small college initially, but I was thankful that I ended up going to a slightly larger college. It's interesting how what we think will suit us and what actually suits us are sometimes two totally different things.

                        Originally posted by amy40 View Post
                        my choice was between 2 places/2 different majors
                        made mistake of picking huge university cause I could room with best friend

                        she made friends with others in dorm so rarely did anything with her
                        as an introvert counted too much on having my friend there always

                        after a couple yrs, transferred to a smaller university & was able to make friends there

                        Comment


                        • I definitely need structure, too. I've had to make my own routine recently, and I think that it'd have been hard not to at least be in a college environment with access to professors and other students. I hope you can find a good routine and a structure that works for you!

                          Originally posted by atskitty2 View Post
                          I need the structure of physically going to class, on a schedule and then the atmosphere of the library for studying. At home, I can clean, I can do yardwork, I can cook, I can do SO many other important things, and lose track of time.
                          I need the separation of space. I need a dedication of space, that I cannot achieve in my own home office. I'm ****still**** in my home office, and changing the mindset for learning, is just hard.

                          I had a job for a short time that allowed us to work from home, and I did just fine with that. For some reason, it was just different for me. For the process of learning, I need the change of environment. I need to have the availability of the Lab models, the cadavers, the professors just a few steps away for questions, and any additional texts I may need to access in the library to reinforce concepts. It's just not the same at home.

                          Comment


                          • That sounds tough, JonnyR: you've been to the mill and back. I couldn't imagine going through that hardship: you definitely have my respect.

                            Comment

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