Reach out to others in times of loneliness

still remember the day I moved into my freshman dorm room at the University of Miami.  After a long day of moving boxes and unpacking clothes, my parents gave me a kiss goodbye and before I knew it, they were gone. There I was: alone in a bedroom with a girl I had just met and unused bedsheets yet to be worn out by a long night’s sleep.

Although I spent my summer preparing for my impending independent life, that first night of sleep in my new bed was terrifying. In the morning, I would not wake up to my parents making coffee in the kitchen and my dog greeting me at the bottom of the stairs.

I’m sure students around campus currently feel the exact same way as I did my first night in Hecht.  You don’t have to be a freshman to feel lonely; you could be a sophomore struggling to decide on a major, a junior living in your own apartment for the first time or even a president of a student organization with a myriad of friends. If at this moment you feel like you’re struggling to have meaningful connections with people, you first need to remember one thing: it’s not just you.

Besides my first night in the dorms, the period of time that I felt lonelier than I’d ever been was my second semester of sophomore year. I had taken on way too many commitments and felt overwhelmed and overworked. I felt isolated and believed that nobody truly understood how I was feeling.

That was until I finally opened up to my roommate. She revealed to me that she felt the same exact way as I did.  If I had not said anything, neither of us would have known we were going through similar issues. After that, we were able to help each other through our personal struggles and provide a mutual support system when times became rough.

If you feel lonely, depressed or anxious, there are people there to help you. Your roommate, your RA, your best friend or a counselor at the Counseling Center can immediately be by your side. The best way to combat loneliness is by seeking a helping hand. It might be scary at first, but it will do nothing but good.

“When I feel lonely, I always try to reach out to my friends,” said Broghan Phelan, a junior majoring in musical theatre. “I surround myself with other people so that I’m not thinking about the people I miss.”

While Phelan has a close relationship with her family as well as with her long-distance boyfriend in her home state of Indiana, she still feels lonely during the holiday season. Like many students, Broghan actively seeks interaction in order to distract herself from loneliness.

Being lonely is not limited to lacking human companionship. You could be surrounded by friends but still feel like you cannot talk to anyone. You have to remember that although it might not seem like it, there is always someone you can lean on. This campus is full of mentors, friends and confidants. It might take a little bit of searching, but I promise you will be able to find someone to comfort you.

You are not alone.

Natalie Hilvert is a senior majoring in theatre and English.

Featured image courtesy Pixabay user JooJoo41