College is great for a multitude of reasons, but one of the most notable reasons it can be a unique and fulfilling experience is due to the people you meet during your time at school.
Community is something that all humans need; after all, God created us to be in some sort of relationship with other people. We were never meant to be completely alone. So why does it seem like all people struggle with loneliness at one point or another in their lives?
Loneliness can be a hard thing to bear, but it’s true that no one is a stranger to the feeling at one point or another in life. It’s easy to struggle with loneliness in college—particularly when you’ve just started school and you haven’t met a lot of people yet. While it’s tempting to go home every weekend if you live close to home or to isolate yourself in your dorm room each and every weekend, hang in there and consider the following ideas the next time you’re feeling all alone.
1. Reach out to others who might feel alone
This might seem counterintuitive because when we’re feeling alone, we often want someone to come and rescue us from that feeling. Instead of waiting for people to come to you, try going to them. Reach out and invite that girl in your hall to coffee, or mosey on down to the community room and strike up a conversation with someone who’s sitting by themselves. This might feel a little bit scary or intimidating because there’s always the possibility that the person you try and connect with might not be available or feel like connecting at that moment, but you might also get the chance to meet someone who needs a friend.
Reaching outside yourself and trying to care for others in the midst of your loneliness can be a very healing thing.
2. Treat loneliness like an old friend come to visit
It’s such a good thing to be compassionate with ourselves. When we let painful emotions into our lives with compassion, it takes a bit of the burn out of them. Try to befriend that emotion your feeling, and stop shaming yourself for what you feel. We all experience hard emotions, and loneliness is a common one.
3. Do something creative or try something new
Channeling your emotions into something you can make or create can produce some beautiful things. Whatever you work on doesn’t have to be terribly creative: you could simply color in a coloring book or practice origami or strum a few notes on a guitar. If you’re stuck, consider watching a few YouTube videos and trying to learn a new creative skill. Some of the most beautiful poetry and creative works have been made by artists who were feeling dreary and dark, so don’t discount your the emotional depth you have at your fingertips.
Creating can do something wonderful inside of you, and it can often get your mind off of the troubling feelings you’re having.
4. Commune with the Lord
When it seems that we are truly alone and all people have left us, it’s true that God never leaves us. We are never truly alone because as followers of Christ, we have the Holy Spirit with us. Spend some time journaling to the Lord, memorizing Scripture, or simply pouring out your heart to God. The Psalms can provide a lot of comfort during trying times—David often felt alone and expressed his despair to the Lord. Allow Christ to fill your cup so that you have strength and joy to give to others, even during the darkest times.
Going for a walk or run can do a lot to refresh your mind. When we get stuck in unhealthy thought patterns, ramping up your heart rate and endorphins can put you in a better mood and get you out of your funk. While exercise may not eradicate loneliness entirely, it will certainly shift your mindset to a different place. Consider taking a new route or even asking someone to join you on your endeavor. At the very least, going out and about to exercise can remind you that there are other people in the world, and you aren’t actually truly alone.
Hang in there, friend! Tomorrow is a new day, and things will feel better again.