Winning the battle of the blues

Everyone experiences loneliness. Here’s how to work through it.

Loneliness is pervasive, especially during your first year of school. October can often be the hardest time of the year, especially for freshman. The rosy first blush of school has worn off, you know your way around campus, and you’re settling into a routine of being busy, yet you’re feeling very lonely. How can you fight this apathy and sadness that has slowly crept into your daily life?

Remember the things you love. You used to be excited about things, and maybe you still are. Whether it was reading, writing or even playing sports, you loved that thing so much you would research it and talk about it. We all have that thing that we’re completely passionate about, so why not find out others’ passions? People love to talk about themselves and that sense of “being known” can fight loneliness more than anything else. Ask others about the things they love and listen well.

Don’t give in to the temptation of home. It’s easier to call home, whether to talk to your family or friends, and while it’s good to keep in contact with the important people in your life, it’s also important to make new friends and build relationships where you are. It’s easy to talk on the phone for hours to your old friends each day, but in some respects, it’s a little cowardly. It takes no small amount of courage and openness to approach someone new or to put yourself out there, but it is well worth it.

You are not alone in these feelings. There is a difference between being alone and feeling lonely. Everyone needs to be alone on occasion; in fact, some people enjoy being alone a good deal more than being with other people. However, it remains that humans were made to be relational. We need each other deeply; we need to be able to confide in one another, to praise and laud each other, and sometimes, merely to be in the presence of one another, quietly pursuing our own ends. Reach out to other people on your floor because there’s a good chance everyone feels lonely to some extent.

Get involved. Everyone says that, but it’s true. Join a ministry because you truly care, not because you think you care. If you have a heart for the homeless or for feeding and caring for those who need it, consider joining Brown Bag ministries. If you love music, and are interested in new media, try Biola Radio. If you were involved in student government in high school, find a way to get involved in A.S. Don’t particularly like chapel? Contact the chapel board and figure out how to improve them. Let us take action, rather than endlessly complaining about the shortcomings of our school.

Even if you’re not that type of a go-getter person, don’t let these few years slide by becoming too consumed by your own worries and problems. We often worry about becoming a burden to those around us, but the truth is, there is something in the very act of serving others, even merely caring enough for those around us to ask about their lives and loves, that provides a way to love well. Are we loving each other well, or are we too cynical and bitter to open ourselves up yet again to hurt? Let us cultivate relationships that change us for the better, so strong and deeply important to us that there is no question that they will last 10, 20 or 50 years. The only movement now is forward, and we are blessed to have one another for the long way ahead.

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