This archived article was written by: Josie Sue Slade
Animals, including humans, naturally gravitate towards herds or packs. Whether we see the literal representation through a pack in nature, or the metaphorical representation of humans selecting a leader of their group, rarely do we see a person living completely isolated from others. Many people have nightmares about being isolated for long periods of time.
A study conducted in the UK concluded that people who are isolated die sooner than people who are socially active. Isolation plays a big part in how well we operate as humans. This can include our mental health, success in life and life satisfaction.
College students face the realities of isolation everyday. When students go away to school, they are thrown into a new situation while knowing few people. Almost immediately, despite the fact that people surround them, the students begin to feel homesick and lonely.
Darrin Brandt, director of the disability resource center, said, “As a person is going to college for the first time, it can seem insurmountable and people don’t know why they are hurting so bad. The reason is that we’re herd animals. We’re supposed to have that support system. We need people to rely on when we’re having a bad day.“
While people come to college to get an education, many students have a harder time getting the education they need because they feel disconnected to the world around them. It’s difficult to make the connections we need to survive when you feel alone in a crowd.
This becomes a problem when so many students drop out after only a few months at college. In our modern day, we are expected to go to college and get an education needed to get a job, Brandt said. At no time should a student drop out because they feel disconnected. So what do you do if you are feeling disconnected in order to prevent you from jeopardizing your future?
“If you feel alone, you can be assured that a lot of other people on campus feel the same. They are just afraid to approach you, as you are to do to them. If you see someone who is lonely, it’s a perfect chance to approach them. If you have 20 seconds of bravery to walk up to someone and introduce yourself, you could have made that one friend who will help you get through college.” Brandt said.
Twenty seconds of bravery seems like a lot to ask, but it’s the best advice anyone could offer someone who is feeling isolated and disconnected. As a challenge, approach someone new today and make a new friend. Remember, there is help out there if you are feeling this way. College doesn’t have to be terrible.
If you need someone to talk to, feel free to drop by the student counseling center in room 223 in the Jennifer Leavitt Student Center (JLSC) or contact Brandt at [email protected].