Feeling lonely in college

Feeling lonely in college

Thursday, 19 August 2021

Although Jess, Jigsaw Volunteer, never experienced social anxiety, she felt her confidence took a knock when she started college.

Watch as she asks Conor for advice on feeling lonely in college. They also deal with the thought that no one wants to talk to you.


Jigsaw Clinician
All of a sudden we can start to feel very small and nervous.

Starting college

Starting college is a big transition. It can be an exciting time, with lots of new experiences and opportunities. We often hear it’s going to be the best time in our life.

Then we arrive on campus and there are hundreds of people milling about. All of a sudden we can start to feel very small and nervous.

When we start in college, there are brand new groups of people, new environments and new subjects. We’re thrown out of our comfort zone, even if it’s something that we’re excited about initially.

Anxious ‘inner voice’

One of the challenges with college is that we can start to listen to that anxious inner voice. This can tell us that nobody wants to speak to us. We can start to believe that nobody wants to know us.

It’s easy to get into habits like slipping in at the back of a lecture. Then sitting there before slipping back out without speaking to anyone.

We might start going home or to the library and spending a lot of time on our own. The more we do that, the more it reinforces the idea that people don’t want to speak to us. We can start to feel very lonely or isolated.

The same boat

One of the great things about college is that it’s different to school, as are people’s attitudes and behaviour. When you’re looking to meet new people, they are usually really open to it.

Going up to somebody and introducing yourself or asking where a lecture is, can be all it takes. Many students are in the same boat of not knowing anyone and wanting to make friends.

Push beyond your comfort zone

With college, or any social situation that causes us to feel anxious, it’s about changing how we view it. We need to push ourselves a bit out of our comfort zone.

This is difficult to do, but if we do it, we can learn something different about the world and about college. We can learn that people actually do want to get to know and spend time with us. It can be a game changer in terms of how we experience college.

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