The Effect of Loneliness on College Students

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Starting college is truly a wonderful time and a unique experience. You meet new people and face new challenges which is very exciting but all these changes can be tough to cope up with. Some students find it extremely hard and challenging to fit in and make new friends right away. This type of loneliness is very common in college students and according to a 2017 survey by the American college health association of 48000 students, nearly 64% felt very lonely and only a mere 19% did not feel lonely at all although this was because of the social relations they had before coming to college. A further 12% of students even considered taking drastic measures to cope up with all the anxiety they were facing be it self harm or turning on to certain hard drugs.

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According to the survey, it was also seen that international or non- native students experienced loneliness more prominently and they were less likely to seek help in such circumstances. The factors that lead to loneliness among university students are vast. These include a drastic change in routines and a lack of familiar surroundings around you. Students also start to get more independent and feel the burden of taking their own care along with taking some hard decisions on their own, an experience many have not felt before. There is also a change in the students relationship with his parents and friends from before which can lead the student to feeling stressed or uncertain in a completely new environment.

According to de jong and giervald j in their book “developing and testing a model for loneliness” they define loneliness as a situation where a person experiences a subjective deficiency of social relationships in a quantitative or qualitative way. Weiss R. S. in his book “Loneliness: The Experience of Emotional and Social Isolation” Distinguishes between 2 different types of loneliness: a deficiency of close and intimate relationships leading to emotional loneliness and the lack of a network of social relationships leading to social loneliness. Emotional loneliness arises, for example, after a divorce or death of a partner, whereas social loneliness occurs when somebody is not socially integrated, such as into a group of friends who share common interests.

Both types of loneliness have to be examined independently, because the satisfaction for the need of emotional loneliness cannot act as a counterbalance for social loneliness, and vice versa. Social and emotional loneliness are very common in college students. Students who experience loneliness start to feel left out of certain events and eventually they stop trying to fit in and accept their condition. This is the reason why we are coming up with an idea that can help the students in need and provide them a platform that can help them deal with their loneliness and start having more social interactions. We also endeavour to help lonely students meet more like minded people easily and feel more incorporated in the college events which will help them settle in college more easily and effectively.

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