Alone and Insignificant
Welcome freshmen, first-years, and everyone here for entertainment. As a little introduction, this is the Freshman Chronicles, a place in the SPECTRUM where I am recording my experiences as a freshman.
Up to this point, the Freshman Chronicles has been about some pretty surface-level stuff, but this installment is going to be a little different. This week we are focusing on mental health, and when I was given this topic, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about, so I got to work.
The following is something I wrote when I was in my feels and needed to get some thoughts out. This might be a small example of my problem with oversharing but pay no mind to that.
“I am feeling very alone right now, both literally and figuratively. I feel alone in the literal sense in that it seems like I haven’t made many friends. This has caused me to depend on about the same three people to be free, so I don’t have to be alone.
I’m not sure if any of you can relate, but I am the kind of person who hates being alone most of the time. It’s not that I’m an extrovert who requires social activity to supply me with energy because I usually love my alone time.
It just seems like something has changed since I moved to college: I don’t like being alone anymore, so the prospect of having to eat alone or even go to the library and do assignments alone isn’t very enjoyable.
I prefer to have company when doing just about anything, so when the few friends I do have all have other friends they’re hanging out with, I tend to feel a bit alone and like I’m not doing something right with college, which leads me to how I am feeling alone in a figurative manner.
I don’t think I have ever felt so much like I do and don’t belong at the same time in my entire life.
It is so confusing and estranging to be surrounded by people who don’t care about what is going on in your life. The fact that just about nobody on campus knows my name or who I am as a person has created a sense of loneliness and the realization of my insignificance(which can also be a comfort).
Another part of this is that everyone around me seems to have their lives together with their abundant friend groups, constantly busy schedules, and overall ability to make it through the college experience with such ease.
I am, one, not doing a great job at making friends; two, never busy and therefore feeling useless and unproductive; and three, having a hard time doing simple tasks like studying. From the outside perspective of myself observing others, it feels like I am the only one struggling here.”
I wrote this a few weeks ago, and although some of it has changed, I can say with confidence that there are a few things that still reign true to me. The transition to college can be difficult and is most definitely bringing a lot of things to my attention about not only myself but those around me.
We’re always told that when we go to college, we are going to have the best years of our lives, where we’ll find our lifelong friends, have experiences that will change us as a person and become the people we are truly meant to be, but nobody ever talks about how stressful not only those expectations are but everything that comes with college.
Throughout the last month or so, I have realized that “the college experience” isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Yes, some people will find their best friends and get to truly enjoy their college experience, but there are also people that are here to get an education and have to work in their free time to pay for their education.
There are others still who are simply here because they were told by someone in authority that college was the “best option” and that if they didn’t go to college, they would never succeed.
There are so many different situations in each of our lives that just about nobody else sees, so the next time you’re feeling alone, find comfort in the fact that there are a lot of other people feeling the same way.
I talked a lot about how alone college can make you feel, but I never touched on all the things you can do to remedy this. My favorite thing to do is surround myself with my friends.
Although it can be difficult to reach out and ask for help, friends are the best people to do this with. If they are good friends, they will make you feel loved and important and help you realize that you aren’t the only one going through it.
Another way you can cure your feelings of being alone is by simply looking at yourself in the same light you look at others. You might look at someone and think they have it all together while someone is looking at you and feeling the same exact way. You need to stop viewing your life in a negative way and try to give it a more positive connotation.
The last way I like to not necessarily avoid the feeling of loneliness but embrace it is to make myself feel like the main character. My favorite tactic is blasting music either while I’m on a walk or driving. I can’t explain why, but this always makes me feel more alive and helps me live in the moment.
I know now that no matter how alone and intimidated I feel by those around me, there is a good chance that someone else is having those same thoughts, which also makes me feel a little less alone.
I hope you all enjoyed being my stand-in therapist and use this as a reminder that you are not alone. With that, I wish my fellow freshman good luck and God’s speed.