The nature of college life, especially on a large campus, often leads to feelings of loneliness. When you first come to college, you are often separated from the people you know well: your family and friends. It is hard to get used to new people, a new environment, and new academic challenges. Those you relied on for support are not around, and there is sometimes no one with whom to share your feelings and experiences. Even if you have been on campus for a while and know many people, you may still feel lonely.
One way to deal with loneliness is to hope it goes away by itself. This method usually just increases the lonely feelings. Also, when loneliness intensifies, you may begin to find yourself in a LONELINESS RUT. You may become overly sensitive to others and feel depressed and misunderstood. You could also turn your loneliness outward, expressing anger and blame and being overly critical of others. Acting in these ways can lead to avoiding others (and others avoiding you). So, you may being to feel even more isolated and get caught up in a cycle of loneliness, depression and/or anger, and, even more loneliness.
WHAT TO DO
A helpful strategy is to realize that feelings of loneliness are usually signals that you are not meeting some BASIC SOCIAL NEEDS. When you think about what the lonely feelings mean, they may point to your missing a particular person or group. Perhaps a telephone call or visit could help.
The lonely feelings may also be more of a general detachment from others. In this case, it is important to push yourself a little to get out and meet new people and do new things. Involving yourself in a campus organization or a club might help. Simply changing seats in your classes, or eating lunch with other people could be the answer.
The important point is that you realize that loneliness is a state of mind that can be actively changed. Taking action is key to feeling better. Exercise is a great activity for feeling better and could also lead to meeting others. Even if you cannot get together with others right away, simply doing things alone that you enjoy, for example a hobby, can help set you on the road out of the LONELINESS RUT.