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Another lonely college student

13

Replies to: Another lonely college student

  • flipmomflipmom Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    My heart goes out to you as I've read this thread. I experienced the same thing in college. I think everyone experiences it. In fact, I heard at a medical conference that I attended recently (I'm a physician) that there is an epidemic of loneliness in this country. Our coping includes getting busier, finding another place to live,partying ...basically distracting ourselves from that hollow feeling. Sometimes that helps, sometimes not.

    It became a comfort for me to realize that-that I wasn't alone in feeling it. And I learned with time the idea of self care. If you are prone to depression, it's important to get back to basics. Sleep at least 8 hours a night,eat nourishing foods (look up Julia Ross's book The Mood Cure), get exercise (just walking for 30 min a day can help or join an aerobics or dance class). Get some sunlight daily, and if youre not in a sunny area, invest in a full spectrum light to keep on your desk.
    Take the advice of above and intentionally practice your social skills. Smile! Even when you don't feel like it, the action positvely imprints on your brain.j Defintely get away from any activity that negatively impacts you ie your quidditch team

    Meditation can definitely help. Seek out a Buddhist or meditation group. It can be a refuge from all the swirling thoughts and rumination. You will find that these dark clouds will pass. Hugs.
  • leafconeybearismartleafconeybearismart Registered User Posts: 131 Junior Member
    Thanks for all the kind words everyone. I've struggled with depression since grade school but I've always been able to handle it until now, but I'm taking my meds and hoping for the best. I'm trying my best to take all of your advice (eating good, excersizing) but it's really hard because the dining halls don't really offer any healthy foods and I'm already working 2 jobs to keep up with tuition. I find myself not exersising when I know I should be, but I still walk to and from class so that at least gets me out of my dorm (my anxiety won't let me ever skip class). I guess things are kind of getting better, but I suppose all I can do is wait.
  • RandyErikaRandyErika Registered User Posts: 387 Member
    A couple of points that may or may not be helpful. One, while the feelings of the OP are not uncommon, they are certainly not experienced by all students. Suggesting that essentially diminishes the OPs very real concerns, and I don’t think that is helpful. I do agree that many students are lonely during their first year, whether it’s an unfortunate matter of circumstances or an inability to connect with others. The former is much easier to overcome, but either can be difficult to get past.

    Another point that I’ve noticed which others may agree or disagree with. Unfortunately pretty much every student is concerned almost entirely with themselves. The extroverted kids aren’t going out of their way to reach out to others who might need a friend, and the introverted kids don’t seem to be looking out for their own if/when they find themselves in a decent situation. Obviously there are exceptions, but I really wish things were different. Unfortunately that mentality looks a lot like an extension of high school, and I wish we were all a bit more selfless.

    The bottom line is that the OP needs to put themself in an environment that is most likely to result in the kind of mutually satisfying interactions being sought. Whether that entails switching dorms, quitting Quittich, or transferring to a new school is something for the student and the parents, perhaps with some help from a counselor, to decide.
  • JayeaCJayeaC Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    I feel the same way. I'm a junior in my four year university however I've felt this way even when in community college. People can be very clique-y and not open to talking to others for whatever the reason. In my major, as I am into dietetics, I already feel behind my peers since I still have yet to take certain courses that they already have taken. So even if I want to talk to them about certain things I get the vibe that they're not interested because they're so advanced. I've always been much of a loner...although not by choice lol. So I hope that things improve for me especially as i get involved in new classes and I hope to soon join clubs. But hang in there, you're not the only one going through this and hopefully things get better for us and all others :)
  • orionaryorionary Registered User Posts: 392 Member
    Same goes for me. I skipped out on clubs and social events at my high school entirely (mainly b/c I didn't like my h.s environment). So, in the end my social circle was little to none. Currently a freshman in college, I am trying to find new friends, however, it seems to be very hard as people have already established their own circle of friends they'd rather be around with more than a random stranger they just met.

    If you're able to follow them on instagram or snapchat or even facebook, you can possibly gain more interaction with them through there, but in real life, it seems pretty unfair that our generation can easily "accept" newcomers, but in the end block them out when it comes to their own OG social circle.

    Unlike you, I am EXTREMELY introverted (maybe b/c my parents, environment, and my own impairments) caused me to be this way, and changing from introvert to extrovert seems possible, yet hard, but it is likely to give anything a worth trying to have better connections with people. (That one special connection with one person can extend your social circle i.e. he/she invites you to their party or whatever).

    Luck does play a role too, sadly.

    I wish all of us the best of finding our special people in our lives.
  • LANYLALANYLA Registered User Posts: 28 Junior Member
    Excellent thoughts here and I certainly empathize. I attended huge State football schools where the Greek system was all. As an introvert, the experience was soul crushing. I knew my roommate and my boyfriend. 2 people out of 30K. High school hadn’t been much better. My husband and I have been fortunate, and our D has attended small private schools most of her life and now she’s headed to Barnard. I think introverts are much more successful at small schools with strong communal ties, and introverts are drawn to small schools. Perhaps you are more like;y to find your tribe there. Other schools we targeted were Reed, Sarah Lawrence and PItzer. These are co-ed schools with very diverse, creative populations. Also small, passionate and tight knit. Sarah Lawrence has a BIG theater department! Persistence is the key:) You’re doing better than you think, too.
  • PicapolePicapole Registered User Posts: 435 Member
    So it's unclear to me where you go to school--probably intentional. This first idea really depends on your community, but as to the theater aspect, yes, I would ask the professor. And if he/she will not let you participate, look into community theater near your campus.

    Another thought: Unless you are actively opposed to religion, consider that many campus ministry groups will offer social events that are not religious services. They will publish and state that they are welcome to any students on campus. For example, a couple of campus ministry groups at my student's school had a Thanksgiving dinner open to all students. There are certain denominations that are into proselytizing hard, so be cognizant of that possibility. In my experience, the Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and Jewish ones are not. They will be happy that you are their guest.

    When it comes to depression, please get a physical exam. If you don't have a lot of money, see if there is a campus clinic. There are actual biological reasons for depression, and those should be ruled out. One biological cause is low thyroid, which can be determined by a blood test. I recently read that 12 percent of women in America have thyroid issues. And, again this is just one possibility--there are others and I am not a doctor.

  • leafconeybearismartleafconeybearismart Registered User Posts: 131 Junior Member
    edited December 2018
    @picapole

    In terms of religion, I've joined a Jesuit volunteer program (despite not being Christian) in hopes of making new friends. The program promises that you will make life long friends and such as we are travelling out of the country for a week to do service but while I'm cordial with the others, none of us have really connected.
  • TorqueDorkTorqueDork Registered User Posts: 22 Junior Member
    Honestly, as someone wrapping up undergrad (3 more semesters) at my state flagship, I pretty much empathize with a lack of belonging and feelings of isolation. I’m a 4.0 student, president of a few clubs, volunteered, published research, and pretty much look like I have everything a college kid could dream of. The suggestions the others have given are all great and I highly recommend all of them. For me, I have this sense of acquaintances with a few people, and I speak when needed to finish tasks, but other than that, I feel disconnected from everyone. It’s as if I’m friends with everyone, because I’m so involved, but friends with no one, because I’ve yet to bond. Try your level best OP, but as I always say, why should these necessarily be the best four years? You still have time to grow and hopefully fill the void with just 16 hr days so you can immunize yourself from loneliness.
  • compSciLovercompSciLover Registered User Posts: 128 Junior Member
    One thing I have found that works is asking people if they want to study together. This gives us a common topic to talk about so it's not awkward.
  • sewejeffreysewejeffrey Registered User Posts: 18 Junior Member
    1-Get your emotions in order. Before you can start getting rid of your loneliness, you need to determine what it is exactly that is making you feel lonely. Do you miss a certain person, or a particular place? Do you generally just feel like you don’t have many friends, or that the friends you do have aren’t close to you? Determining why you’re lonely may give you a solution for your problem right away - not everyone can tell where their feelings of loneliness originate. If you’re missing a particular person or place that you can’t visit, much of your problem-solving will need to be introspective. If you are desirous of more friends or feel isolated, than your solution will more likely be to get out and meet new people.
    -Try journaling if you’re not sure why you feel lonely. Be as specific as possible.
    -Don’t be embarrassed at the cause(s) of your loneliness. It is a perfectly normal feeling that everyone struggles with at one time or another.

    2-Focus on your health. Before you make any other changes, you should look to your own health for indicators of causes for loneliness. Oftentimes lack of sleep, exercise, and healthy foods can leave you feeling lethargic and depressed, leading to loneliness over time. Spend a week making positive changes to your health; aim to get eight hours of sleep every night, try to fit in at least 30 minutes of physical activity, and cut out junk food/incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet. If nothing else, doing these things will give you more energy and reduce stress, which overall impact your positive outlook and feelings of happiness.
    -Studies have shown that poor sleep and lack of physical activity are correlated to feelings of loneliness.
    -Certain foods - particularly fruits and vegetables - contain hormones that increase happiness.
  • EngineersCareersEngineersCareers Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Also the same i have no one interested to reply me as if i am going to make efforts to talk to someone. So i decide to pull back from them and decided if they want to talk if they wish to, and there is more motivated speech with help me to survive.
  • HankCTHankCT Registered User Posts: 223 Junior Member
    I wanted to chime in here, as a parent, because this thread hits very close to home. Our DD in HS has a very small list of friends, and she is not #1 or #2 on their list. Net result is that she is periodically invited to hang out with them. She also has a few "acquaintances" that she respects, but isn't dying to hang out with. She has social anxiety, and depression, and is an introvert. She has done well in school, well enough to get accepted to a half dozen good colleges with a bunch offering some merit. But we're all worried about the next step. I think she hopes that going to college will be a new clean slate, and by joining clubs and picking the right school, she may finally get better with the social scene. We also know that going to college is by no means a panacea. It could end up being even worse than HS was. What then? As parents, my wife and I'd greatest fear is exactly your situation, that she goes off to school and feels entirely alone.

    We have an array of many colleges to choose from, all A- to A level schools (per Niche) and they all have her study interests, but honestly, I think we'd all agree on this: If we had a crystal ball and could pick the school she would be HAPPIEST at, we wouldn't care which school it was. As parents, we'd do anything to help her find her happiness.

    But alas, it does not work that way. We can only make an educated guess. We can only hope it works out for her and provide support. We can remind her that she can always transfer (I did after 2 years), but that reminder may not be enough to deal with waves of loneliness or depression.

    Just know that there are people out there that care about you.

    Something else to consider. As I read often about depression with my child being affected by it, one thing I saw was that those with depression are often hard-wired to only anticipate negative outcomes. They look at life, work, college, class, and what if scenarios always in the negative. It's not easy to change that behavior, but it might help to be aware of it. When i first read your post, I was curious as to where you were going to college (mainly I was curious about large/small and school rigor). But in doing so I saw your thread history. And the subject lines immediately made me think of this negative foresight. "I am so conflicted", "What if I can't handle it?","No scholarships?",Is school X any good? I made a mistake, Do I have a chance at all? etc etc.

    Please do not think I am judging. A lot of my posts are the same. It is because we have a built in negative outlook. Just being aware of this about one's self can be extremely helpful, and/or doing the math and thinking about the outcomes.

    My oldest said she was dumb (1300 SAT score without any prep proved her wrong). She said all schools would reject her (she hasn't been declined to any yet, and most have given merit). That she is unlikely to find friends, unlikely to succeed in college (she said the same about HS). It's a negative view, and this energy is also cast off to others, and people tend to shy away from those who have a negative projection. They can just feel the vibe.

    Please keep us posted, and stay strong. I would recommend finding some clubs, clubs where tolerance and understanding is more common. Keep working at it, it can and likely will get better.
  • HankCTHankCT Registered User Posts: 223 Junior Member
    edited February 5
    Oh yeah, and consider transferring to somewhere warm and sunny. Why we all punish ourselves with bitter cold, grey skies and short days, is beyond me. I went up to New Hampshire (further north) to go to college. I should have gone to Arizona, or South Carolina or San Diego, or something like that.

    Also, in terms of clubs, maybe finding some where you can help others. Community service, charity, mentoring. Sometimes helping others can be very fulfilling, and you may even find it easier to make friends among others who share that activity.
  • pittsburghscribepittsburghscribe Registered User Posts: 461 Member
    Just throwing this out there, but could you add theater as a double major or minor so that you could join the productions?
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