College is an exciting chapter of life that brings new adventures, relationships, and immense opportunities.
And, while stepping into the role of a college student and leaving high school behind is a positive change, it doesn’t come without its challenges.
It can be hard to move to an entirely new place. Whether you attend college just a few hours from home or across the country, it can take some time to adjust and build a new community on campus.
If it’s tough for you to make friends and feel comfortable in a new place, you’re not alone.
Here are a few steps you can take to make the transition into college life easier and deal with the isolation you may feel during the adjustment.
Get an ESA
Typically, people associate heading off to college with all of the positive things they gain: education, new friendships, independence, and more. But as with any big life transition, moving to a new place also brings a significant loss.
As you distance yourself from the people and places you know so well, it can be tough not to feel lonely.
But what if you could have someone accompany you on this journey? Someone who will always have your back and be at your side when you need them?
That’s where an ESA comes in handy. There are many types of emotional support animals that can provide much-needed companionship and support as you go through this big life transition.
Plus, colleges by law must make reasonable accommodations under the Fair Housing Act, which allows students to have ESAs live in campus housing with them.
Join an On-Campus Club or Group
Find something you enjoy doing or a subject you love. Then, look at student resources on your campus and see what on-campus communities you could join!
Making new friends can be difficult, but you’ll automatically have something in common and things to talk about if like-minded people surround you.
It could mean joining an improv team, sweating it up at a Zumba class at the rec center, or volunteering in your community.
Find your niche. You’ll not be alone there.
Schedule Regular Video Calls With Friends and Family
It’s hard to be so far away from family and friends. If you schedule regular calls with them, once a week or a few times a month, it can be easier to adjust to your new routine!
You will automatically have something to look forward to, which can keep you motivated and help you feel less alone.
Talk About It
In 2018, 20,000 U.S. adults reported feeling sometimes or always lonely. Remember that, while you may feel lonely, you are not alone in that feeling.
Talk about your experience with others. It could be with friends, family, or a therapist. The more you connect and build solidarity with your new community, the easier it will be to cope with moments of loneliness.
Above all else, remember that this adjustment is temporary. It will take a bit of time, but you will settle into your new life and build incredible relationships.
College is the beginning of something incredible. Savor every moment—even the tough ones!