College is not going as planned

I’m just so lonely. 

Can our elder help a letter writer who’s struggling to make friends at college?


Dear EWC

It’s been a while since I submitted one of these… I am a freshman in college, and it’s not going as planned. I came in really hopeful about what I would experience and the people I would meet. I don’t know whether to blame it on Covid or my own asocial behavior, but things haven’t panned out the way everyone told me it would. I joined a fraternity on my campus just to be around more people but whenever I’m over there I feel like I don’t fit in. I haven’t found more than one person on my campus who I feel I really connect with and have a lot in common with. This has led to me feeling very lonely most nights. It wasn’t too bad last semester, but after winter break, I’ve been on a faster decline ever since. I’ve been going to parties every weekend in hopes that I’ll meet more people. But recently my motivation for going has changed from socializing to drinking. I am 85% certain that it won’t become a problem but it may be too early to tell. Earlier this semester I had big hopes and goals for what I wanted to accomplish, so far my academics are the only thing I’m proud of. I feel like I don’t have an outlet to vent my frustrations and feelings to. I feel like my friends from high school are drifting away from me. I struggle with being single but can’t work up the courage to actually pursue someone. I cried sober for the first time in months. I had to leave my brother in my dorm later the same day so I could drive around because I could barely keep it together. 

I am having girl issues, which is nothing new, but rather monotonous. I’ve been hung up on the same girl for over a year (‘M’, senior in high school), but I’ve also fallen for another girl from my high school (Liberty, junior). ‘M’ and I have had our shot(s) together, but it never really worked out. For some reason I’m still thinking about her. And with Liberty, I know I’m not her type, and I almost came to terms with that until we started texting a lot. There are finer details to the relationships I have with these women, but that’s not the point. It may be because of my struggles with them, that I can’t look beyond for someone else to set my sights on. I don’t know who I am, or what I’m supposed to be. I have so many specific issues but I need to figure out what’s going on with me first. I think about the past more than I should. And the feeling of nostalgia that should typically accompany memories, is rather more of a pain that I can’t pinpoint the motive for. It’s like I’m jealous about the past because I know I can’t relive it. Any guidance is much appreciated.


Mrs.G replies

I really think it’s going to take a little more time to adjust to your college life; but I can see why you are unhappy now. I remember my first year in college and remember I just felt lost. It was a terribly insecure time for me so I do understand your feelings and hope to help you in some way.

I can see, for starters, you are having trouble moving on from the past, but it would help you to try really hard. I’m not sure you need to continue dating your high school friends, either. You are leading totally different lives now so I’m not certain what all you can share. Once these girls are in college themselves, things could change; but for right now, I don’t see you having much in common with them. It’s no wonder your attempts to connect aren’t going too well.

I need to add, also, it’s quite common to kind of lose all of your old high school friends. You have all changed and are headed down different paths so to stay truly connected is difficult. This has nothing to do with your personality, by the way. It’s just a life pattern. As our lives change, our associates change.

Do you think maybe you are trying too hard to make a close friend? I ask you this question because I think it lies at the root of things. From what I’ve experienced, we never seem to make a close friend when we are looking for one. It’s just something that happens when least expected. Besides, our personalities can change when we are seeking a close, close relationship. We can be overly nice, overly attentive, overly serious and sometimes scare people away. We have good intentions but our attempts can be misunderstood. People can question us if we appear really needy – even though they can be needy themselves. It really doesn’t make sense but it does happen.

I think it’s terrific you are keeping up with your school work and hope you continue to do so. Actually, you could use your studies as a way to meet people and it’s a good way. If you can connect with someone who shares your interests academically, you’ve past that first step and have a sound basis for a friendship. Even joining school clubs, if available, is a great way to meet other people – and your conversations can become easy because you all are on the same page, more or less – you all have the same interests.

Finally, I’d like to suggest you try to stop looking inward. There is nothing wrong with you. You are just experiencing a new life venture and you’re not all that sure-footed. No one in your situation actually is but you’d never know it. It’s just normal to feel a bit insecure at this time of your life, but things will get better in time.

Put your discouragement away now, and start your days with a slightly different viewpoint. Look forward to meeting new people, experiencing new things, and quit feeling like the lonely kid in school. Maybe try to follow my suggestions which could improve your self image. You don’t need improving, just the picture you have of yourself.

I wish you happy days ahead. Remember, just give it time. Take care.

Article #: 472400

Category: Self-Improvement

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