By now, everyone knows that reliance on social media has made us simultaneously more connected and more disconnected. We may connect with more people than ever, and some of us may have thousands of ‘friends’, but how many of those do we really connect with?
Most of us sleep with our phones, and pull them out because we don’t want to appear alone in public – everywhere you look, someone is glued to their phone. We text our peers and baes because it’s easier than having face-to-face conversations, but all this reveals is an innate sense of loneliness.
This ‘alone, together’ phenomenon can easily be seen on any campus, where some students seem more anxious and stressed than ever before. Whether you’re going to move to a new campus overseas or plan to stay away from family during your studies locally, learning to differentiate solitude from loneliness can make a big difference.
So, what do you do? Here’s some advice from Dr. Deborah Cohan, a professor of sociology:
1. Recognise that these thoughts are very very normal. For most students, freshman year is hard.
2. It’ll take a while to feel at home. For most, it takes at least a year or two.
3. Don’t shy away from company. If you’re studying, inviting study buddies or a dinner meet up later.
4. Only spend time in your room to sleep. Head to campus common areas so you have more chances to connect with others.
5. Attend any school events, such as lecture series, dance performances, excursions, volunteering, movie nights, etc. Try to attend events once a month that you wouldn’t normally go to; this is the time to try things out and experiment.
6. Join in on extracurricular activities or clubs; better yet, consider leadership roles in these clubs to experience a sense of real contribution. You can add meaning to your life in campus.
7. Find study buddies and study groups. In addition to helping cultivate academic success, these peers can become good friends.
8. Find your passion; follow your bliss. We enjoy things much more when we have a sense of purpose, shape, and meaning. This is the best time in your life to experiment with new things, and visit new places. Check out local parks or the beach, an art museum, or seek out local concerts and performances, and you’ll better understand your new hood.
9. Try to turn off your phone at least an hour every day. Learn to live without immediate gratification and experience the world outside your phone.
via Psychology Today