How Being Lonely Doesn’t Mean You’re Alone

Belén Yudess ’25
Copy Editor Intern

One hour. One hour is all that divided me from my cozy, bunked GJW triple and home; yet it felt like there were a thousand miles, two plane rides, and a wild detour on a horse that separated me from everything familiar. Though this may sound dramatic, and to be fair LA traffic can produce the same travel time as that excursion, it was my first time away from home.

I had never gone more than a day without seeing my parents. I had never gone to sleep away camp, had never stayed at a friend’s or relative’s house for more than a night, and the week-long senior retreat I was dreading got canceled because of COVID-19 (so sad!). Although I had prepared myself for the moment by rewatching the Gilmore Girls episode “The Lorelai’s First Day at Yale” the night before my departure, when the time came to say goodbye to my parents, I was a mess. As I kissed them goodbye in the Rose Garden and watched them walk away (cinematic gold), all I felt was a growing dread for the journey ahead.

Although I cannot pinpoint the moment I stopped feeling so alone and started to feel a part of something new and beautiful, there are several people, like my vibrant first year roommates and wonderful friends, who taught me that being by myself was an opportunity rather than a burden.

It is okay to be lonely. Even after you find your footing, it is okay to feel stuck, nervous or scared. Everyone combats loneliness in different ways, and everyone goes through it. Allow yourself to go through the process and know that you will find the people who understand all your quirks (such as an unreasonable obsession with avocados).

If you are feeling overwhelmed adjusting to college life or are unsure how to get out of your shell, here are a few suggestions:

  1. Attend hall events, OSE events, and RC hours: Although you have probably heard this advice at least 100 times, attending these activities allows you to meet other people in your hall, your ResLife staff, and get a tasty snack or creative decor on your way out! These events are also typically led by older students, so it’s a wonderful time to ask questions and meet people in other grades who you may not normally interact with!
  2. Get involved in that CLORG, job, production, intramural, or program that you scoped out on Instagram! Another run of the mill response, but joining that activity (even if you are not entirely sure what it does) may help you find others who share your interests and passions. These more structured forms of programming also allow for a buffer when getting to know someone and give you a set time and place for those who value an organized schedule.
  3. Find your happy place. Everyone needs time to recharge their social battery, and the 5Cs have a surplus of splendid spots to explore! There are the more popular hangouts like the Motley, the Pitzer mounds, and Pomona’s quad for more active places to unwind and see familiar and new faces. If you’re in need of a quieter and aesthetically pleasing place to reflect and take a breather, the Denison courtyard, Pitzer swings, or the park at the beginning of the village are just a few known nooks (besides the super secret ones the squirrels gossip about). Combating loneliness does not always require being around a ton of people, sometimes it’s seeing a friendly smile or going somewhere and treating yourself to something that brings you joy!
  4. Have patience: It’s ok if your Barbie Dreamhouse or mojo dojo casa house (whatever floats your boat) of a college life is not clicking right away. It’s ok if you still feel weary about classes. It’s ok if your friend group is changing. It’s ok if you are homesick. Wherever you are at right now is truly where you are meant to be. Being in college does not mean you have to have everything figured out, including your major, extracurriculars, social situation, or even your room set-up. Be kind to yourself and have patience with everything you are going through, both the highs and the lows. The nights you stay up until 3 a.m. finishing that midterm paper, or watching a goofy rom-com with friends, or even just sitting in the dark by yourself are parts of your journey; appreciate and learn from them. You’re doing incredible just by doing what is right for you!

Loneliness comes in waves, but so does joy, belonging, and stability. There are days that will be filled with so much love, laughter and all of the corny yet very real emotions that come with being a college student. But even amidst all of the excitement and energy, there will be pangs of loneliness and feeling out of place. I have those moments a lot, and when I do, I take a deep breath and stare at the plethora of Snoopy quotes I have plastered around my room (I live in Routt) and blast Ricky Montgomery to ground myself. This regrouping looks different to everyone, though, and all that matters is that yours makes you feel safe and supported.

Once again, it is totally ok to feel lonely, but remember that you have the power to overcome any challenges and a community of superb, spectacular Scrippsies that are here to support you along the way!

Image Source: Brain&Life