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College is incredibly lonely

  1. Dec 25, 2009 #1
    Somehow I've managed to go 3 semesters at my university without meeting a single new person or making any new friends at all. It's all my fault, obviously; I'm not going to run around blaming the world for my shortcomings but it's clear that this can't go on much longer. I am getting incredibly lonely and, as a result, pretty aimless and ambivalent. I never thought I was much of a social person, and I'm really not but I don't know if I can go another semester just wandering around campus by myself or sitting alone in coffee shops. It's starting to effect my motivation, my plans, and just everything. I'm not falling behind in schoolwork but it's not all that pleasant either.

    The past year I've concentrated a lot on myself. I became a runner, I take excellent care of myself, I learned to cook, and I studied a few things that I've always wanted to. It's been great and everything but as good as it was for me personally, it's been hell socially and I spent a lot of my time alone. I've tried joining clubs and talking to people in my classes and going out, but nothing seems to stick. In clubs, I go a few times, get bored, and then stop. My classes are fine but they're not specialized enough that I would have common interests with many people in them and I'm not one to sit around and talk about television or video games or drinking or whatever the hell passes for chit-chat these days.

    My roommate is my friend of 10+ years and a decent person most of the time but she just has the effect of sucking the fun out of anything. All she does is sit in the apartment and study her little brains out. She isn't stupid by any means but she seems incredibly jealous as of late that I don't have to study or work as hard as she does for my grades and that leads to this weird one-sided competition. So, needless to say, I don't want to spend much time in the apartment which is fine but difficult to avoid.

    So my question is, what can I do? These forums seem to generate a lot of these threads and I've read through a few but most of the responses seem to be vague bromides like 'Join clubs!' or 'Talk to people in your classes!' I appreciate the sentiments, but a lot of these are unimplementable or already tested and tossed out in my situation. Anyhow, thanks for listening and merry Christmas PF!
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 25, 2009 #2
    You can always join a fraternity, there's plenty of social people and you're bound to make a friend or two =)
  4. Dec 25, 2009 #3

    Math Is Hard

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    I think you mean a sorority. It's MissSilvy not MisterSilvy.
  5. Dec 25, 2009 #4
    I actually rushed freshman year and got in but decided it wasn't for me. The girls were incredibly nice and everything, but the whole 'sisterhood' thing wasn't really my thing. And there was the same problem of not having any interests in common at all. Thank you kindly for the input though :)

    Heh, I think the default is just 'male' to most people on these forums. :)
  6. Dec 25, 2009 #5
    Well there's always co-ed fraternities right?
  7. Dec 25, 2009 #6


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    When I was in school, some of my closest friendships were from "forced" connections. For example, I had several roommates that I never met until I lived with them but they turned out to be good friends. Another time, I worked a summer on a fish processing ship...sixteen women to a room. I became very close to several of them.

    What I'm trying to say is, I agree with you - college is not a great place to meet people, despite its reputation of endless parties and such. You may need to get out of your usual routine in order to have a good social life.

    Would you consider getting a new roommate, or maybe renting a room in a house with several other young folks? It's risky, but sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone if you want a change in your life.
  8. Dec 25, 2009 #7


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    Most college students are just high school graduates, immature, mainly stupid and ignorant 'folk' types. I haven't met anyone interesting in college, and I wont attribute your 'misfortune' to your personality.
  9. Dec 26, 2009 #8


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    So far at the college level, I've been enrolled in a community college, a public honors college, and a private school. I'll soon be enrolled at a North Carolina state university. Not every place will socially fit you. At my community college I didn't like anybody. At New College of Florida I felt connected to everyone.

    The reason there are vague responses like "join clubs!" is because the solution for each person is different. For me, I like to hang out on the internet. I like to adventure and explore, and be curious, and sometimes that will bring you interesting people. Don't be afraid to talk to someone on a whim, the worst thing that could happen is for them to not like you.
  10. Dec 26, 2009 #9
    Volunteer jobs can be great for finding friends - I still work at a park where I began over 20 years ago. For a while we claimed over two dozen volunteers of all ages (but mostly young adults).

    Permit me to brag: I fed raptors, and had been in charge of a hundred acres of parkland and a Nature Center for a day. I was appreciated with canoe outings to see bald eagles, day trips for hiking, or visiting historical landmarks free of charge. At a black tie dinner I was the key recipient for a prestigious award as a volunteer for northern Virginia parks.

    On Christmas Eve I played Santa for residents at a local nursing home. They have a great attitude for folks who have so much stacked against them. I count many as friends.

    I guess your university is large and impersonal. For my freshman year I was one in a class of 1200. Some of my best college friends I met there. I had to move to a "commuting school" next, and didn't make any substantial friends there. In graduate school, the undergraduates were like high schoolers. At least most of the professors were friendly.

    If you search down in your soul to what is really important to you - somewhat serious, somewhat fun and somewhat profound - I would ask you to seek out such a group into which you can put your heart.
  11. Dec 26, 2009 #10
    I can relate to how you feel. I'm interested in obtaining useful information in general and although this sounds simple it turns out that not many people share my interest. There are so many forums out there. As for myself, I visit more than a dozen forums daily.

    There's so much easily accessible free information on the internet, it's great if you think about it. There are at least one or two dozen youtube channels dedicated to making free information accessible to the average internet user, for example, such as MIT's channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/MIT

    There's so much information on the internet, it's up to you to utilize what's available.
  12. Dec 26, 2009 #11


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    Do you have any hobbies or interests that might have club meetings that you could attend to make new friends with?
    Check the bulletin boards for meetings and/or clubs that might interest you or start one yourself.
  13. Dec 26, 2009 #12
    This. What do you do for fun? Never mind the clubs part.
  14. Dec 26, 2009 #13
    The prevailing opinion seems to be back to clubs or hobbies. Alright, I'll bite :)

    For fun? I did fencing and soccer when I was younger but those are both isolating for the most part. What exactly can I do, drag someone to the gym with me and do group workouts? Strange. Maybe the problem is I don't have any interests that are even mildly social. I'm multi-lingual, but that's something you do by yourself unless you want to strangle people. I'm a physics student but we are, by nature, reclusive. Disturbingly, I don't really know what I do for fun.

    I think I've just about given up on finding anyone at this school. I know somewhere out there, there must be a few people I'd get along with incredibly, but finding them is a completely different matter.

    Now that's a good idea. I've already decided there's no way that my current roommate and I are living together but I didn't really think about striking out on my own. Thank you lisab, I'll definitely start looking into that :)
  15. Dec 26, 2009 #14
    Your life is precious, live well and be happy. While humans are highly social creatures we're also highly intelligent creatures. For me, I feel as if there isn't an extreme difference between communicating with people on the internet and communicating with people in real life.

    I just hope you appreciate the members here at PF, at least enough to feel less lonely.
  16. Dec 26, 2009 #15
    That's what I was wondering. Generally you get to know people by engaging in social activities that you enjoy. I have met several new friends just shooting pool at bars and pool halls.

    So if you can't think of any social type activities that you enjoy you may want to go out and try some. Maybe you'll find something you like doing. Do you like dancing? You could take a dance class which can also be good exercise, since you seem to like to exercise. Games are good too like billiards (there's some physics there right?), poker, scrabble (there are some insane scrabble people), chess, go, or even D&D and such if you are into that sort of thing. ;-) A friend of mine organized a game night when he was in college. They got together and played all sorts of games from the simple like monopoly to obscure cult classics like the Illuminati card game. They looked for as many weird and off the wall games as they could find. Fencing might be good if there is a fencing club. Around here there used to be several people into shinai though you can't use one like a foil or you'll hurt someone. If you like sword fighting stuff there are also groups like the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism).

    There are tons of things that you could get into but unfortunately I can not really come up with anything particularly suitable since I do not know you well.
  17. Dec 26, 2009 #16
    As good a first post as any, I suppose.

    Meh...I felt the same way my freshman year. I go to a big school that is BIG on sports. People cry. I personally find it hilarious, but our quarterback getting sacked or throwing a terrible pass is a real tear jerker, like pouring onion juice right into the eye for most people. My flippant attitude towards football turned quite a few people away from me, but it attracted my current group of friends (most of them actually like football). I've actually gone to games, just in the interest of doing something different.

    I'd say the only reasonable advice that could be given is to try to be more "active" and to not be afraid to speak to people. At worst they'll give you a cold shoulder. You may deal with this any way you wish, including calling them dirty names in your head, like Jerk Face McMeanie. At best, you've made a new acquaintance who may one day become a good friend!

    Edit: HA! 0 posts, I'm like a specter! Sweet!
  18. Dec 26, 2009 #17
    Hmmm, allow me some steps on thin ice. Just an idea. Could it be that you are a sort of perfectionist? And would that reflect that in your social contact with others? I mean, why use words like ' unimplementable'. Could it be that they think that you are not in their league.

    Ever tried the 'look, silly me' approach?
  19. Dec 26, 2009 #18
  20. Dec 26, 2009 #19


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    Maybe because they're over compensating (especially since "unimplementable" isn't a word! :wink:).
  21. Dec 26, 2009 #20
    But certainly creative :smile:
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