Is It Normal to Feel Lonely in College? How to Deal With Loneliness?
Read on for advice on coping strategies for college students who are lonely at school, as well as what you can do to support them.
It’s exciting to be in college. You can finally make decisions for yourself now that you are independent. But college can also be lonely. Although it’s usually harder than that, many people enter the experience believing it will only be enjoyable.
But make an effort to not worry too much. You can reduce your loneliness in a number of ways.
Is It Normal to Feel Lonely in College?
On college campuses across the nation, loneliness is a major problem. One survey conducted by the American College Health Association found that 67% of female students and 54% of male students had felt “very lonely” in the past 12 months.
Further Reading: How to Make Friends After College?
Both overwhelming anxiety and a sense of helplessness were reported by the students who participated in the survey. Nearly 12% of people had also thought about suicide. For parents who are sending their children off to college, these figures are shocking.
College students also worry about relationship problems, self-esteem issues, social anxiety, and interpersonal issues, all of which can exacerbate loneliness. Additionally, the number of students using the mental health services offered by colleges has been rising steadily.
Why Do People Feel Lonely in College?
Identifying the cause can help you create a plan if you feel lonely in college.
- Not having your support system nearby: One of the main causes of loneliness in college can be a lack of nearby friends and family. Going away to college can be a major adjustment if you’re used to having your family nearby.
- Watching everyone else start romantic relationships: If you haven’t yet found a partner for yourself, you’ll feel lonely as you observe your new friends’ close relationships. Later in the school year, after everyone has had a chance to get to know one another, this circumstance becomes more frequent.
- New routine and educational path: A new routine’s unfamiliarity can contribute to feelings of loneliness. You might occasionally doubt your choice of academic path, adding to the unfavorable sentiment. When this occurs, it appears as though the future is uncertain, and you’ll want to be comforted by others.
- Feeling like no one cares: Due to the impression that no one is concerned for your welfare, you might start to feel lonely. They might not seem to care about what you’re doing or how you’re feeling, including your friends, roommates, and professors. However, they probably do care; they might just choose a different way to express it.
- Anxiety and depression: It can be difficult to make friends in college if you become anxious or depressed. You may find it harder to make new friends and connections if you have either of these conditions. Additionally, it may isolate you even more, heightening your loneliness.
- Learning to balance daily activities: As you learn to manage your everyday domestic tasks, you might experience feelings of loneliness. Your guardians or parents likely assisted you with these things when you lived at home. Now that you’re an adult, you’re in charge of looking after yourself, cooking, cleaning, and juggling your social and academic lives.
- Comparisons: College can be competitive, and you find yourself comparing yourself to other students a lot. You may feel out of place and search for a place to fit in.
When Do Feelings of Loneliness Usually Appear?
Although you can experience loneliness at any time while in college, there are some times when you might be more prone to it.
- During times of tradition: Living at home brings with it expected traditions for significant occasions like holidays and your birthday. Due to classes or exams, you may not always be able to participate in these customs when you go away to college.
- Halfway through the first semester: Around midway through their first semester, many college students start to feel lonely. You forget about the significant transition you just underwent because of all the excitement leading up to and during the start of college. It’s possible that the feelings will start to slowly creep in once you’ve settled in, about halfway through the first semester.
- During the initial transition: Students may experience setbacks during the first week or two of college and feel lonely. The realization that you won’t see your loved ones and high school friends as frequently may cause you to feel sad. The negativity might start to fade as you get used to your new life.
- When they see other people connect: If you haven’t yet found a close-knit group of friends, it may hurt to see them interact. You might believe that others find the connection to be effortless but not you.
- During challenges: You may feel lonely when you have to overcome difficulties and obstacles by yourself. The people who cared about you most, your family and friends, are no longer there to support you. You might experience feelings of overwhelm and a need for connection as a result.
How to Cope When You Feel Lonely at College?
Keep in mind that you are not alone when you feel lonely. Throughout their college careers, many people encounter loneliness. Here are a few helpful tactics to help you cope with these emotions.
Attend Workshops Or Counseling
Some colleges offer support groups for students who are having a hard time adjusting to college life. According to Dr., this may be helpful for a student who is having loneliness issues. Schreyer-Hoffman.
Colleges typically offer students a wide range of options, from group sessions and counseling appointments to workshops on topics like mindfulness and coping mechanisms. The key is to conduct some research and then take action to obtain the necessary assistance.
Group settings can aid students in connecting with others and normalizing their emotions. College-related emotional setbacks may be avoided in group settings as well.
Limiting technology use and concentrating on getting out of the dorm and involved are two other strategies for dealing with loneliness in college. The key is to prioritize in-person interactions and limit time spent online and watching Netflix, whether that means joining a club, a sport, or a religious organization.
Maintaining relationships with family and friends back home is beneficial as well, but this should not come at the expense of assimilating into the college atmosphere. Finding a balance between staying in touch with those back home and making new friends is crucial.
Students are reminded that they are not alone by the two taken together. Many people still care about them or want to get to know them in the world. The space in their lives is also ample for developing new friendships and relationships.
Meet New People
It’s a great way to lessen loneliness meet new people and form new friendships. The most effective way to do this is to start a casual conversation with someone close to you, like a classmate or roommate.
It can be a really good way to make friends and discover things in common to ask someone how they are adjusting to the course or college life.
Change Your Self-view
There are also actions you can take inside of yourself to lessen loneliness. Positive self-talk is a great way to combat negative self-perceptions.
We can alter our perception of ourselves and how we interpret social interactions by reframing our negative thoughts into positive and empowering messages that highlight our strengths. Writing in a journal can also be a great way to figure out where your unfavorable patterns and beliefs come from.
Connect With Yourself
Loneliness can be lessened by reestablishing a connection with oneself. Spend some time away from social media and refocus on your surroundings, paying attention to your feelings and surroundings. You’ll be able to maintain your integrity while making new friends and connections thanks to this as well.
When to Seek Help?
If, despite trying these strategies, your loneliness persists or starts to negatively impact your daily life, you might want to talk to a medical or mental health professional.
There are numerous mental health resources available at colleges and universities, as well as off-campus resources. If these services are provided and how to access them is unknown, you can inquire with the administration or the medical facilities on your college campus.
Conclusion: Feel Lonely in College
Many students experience loneliness while attending college. By realizing that you’re not alone, you can get past these emotions. You can meet people and form new friendships by joining an extracurricular organization, inviting a classmate to coffee, or starting a study group.
They will begin to meet people with a little effort, and their loneliness will fade.
Is It Normal to Not Have Friends in College?
Yes, it’s normal to feel lonely in college. In fact, it’s not uncommon for students to experience loneliness and isolation on campus. This could happen for a variety of reasons, such as feeling overawed by the new situation or having trouble making friends in a strange place.
Does Everyone Lose Touch With Their Friends?
Yes, it’s a pretty normal part of life. You shouldn’t do something just because everyone else is doing it, but you can be confident that losing friends is a fairly common experience.
Are College Friends Life Long?
No matter if you are a recent graduate of high school or returning to school to pick up new skills, the time you spend in college is important because many of the people you meet there will become friends for life.