Q & A: College Social Life
Question: I thought that college would be different, but it’s been a month and a half and I haven’t connected with anyone. I feel very lonely and alienated because I don’t know anyone on a personal level at school. I don’t know if feeling like a fish out of water still is normal.
Answer: Feeling unconnected and alone is certainly a common experience at the beginning of college and you can be sure that there are many other students who are also trying to develop new relationships. As a commuter student, you have less opportunity for out of classroom connections and while this makes for less natural contact time, it does not preclude developing bonds- it just means you need to put some more thought and effort into it.
Friendships develop when people share time together in mutual interests and/or experiences. The more time you spend with others, one-on-one or in small groups, the more likely for friendships to develop. Spending time at on-campus social events, student clubs or organizations provides a great opportunity to get to know others. You could even try to meet others in the cafeteria .Although these interactions might make you anxious, trying them and pushing yourself a bit will help you develop relationships.
Focusing on others who have developed friendships probably makes your lack of connections even more difficult, so instead try to focus on what you can do to improve your situation. If you find that your anxiety gets in the way of meeting new people or if you try some of these suggestions and want more support, you should contact your college counseling center where they have supportive staff who would likely be able to help you.
Answer courtesy of Dr. Chaim Nissel, PsyD – University Dean of Students at Yeshiva University