The University of Georgia hype video for Student Affairs depicts dozens of students smiling while they rock climb, bull-ride, attend a football game and do other activities with friends. The video gives the appearance as if going to UGA will be a highly sociable and action-packed experience.
While college provides this experience for some, other students experience loneliness on campus. This juxtaposition between the portrayed social experience and the reality of loneliness may cause the individual to feel embarrassed by their feelings, but it is not something to be ashamed of.
"Since it's such a huge population, I feel more like a number than an individual."
-Yazmine Wallace, UGA student
College loneliness is a common experience. According to the University of Texas-Austin Counseling and Mental Services, loneliness is a painful emotion brought on by a disconnection from others. First-year freshman are especially prone to loneliness, since they are away from friends and family from their hometown. Transfer-students can feel loneliness but often have more maturity and experience socializing at college to help them.
While all of this has to do with college in general, there are certain aspects of UGA that cause some students to feel more lonely than others.
“Since it’s such a huge population, I feel more like a number than an individual,” said Yazmine Wallace, a linguistics and French double major from Atlanta. “Because there are so many different groups, and unfortunately, the more publicized groups are majority white leaning or masculine in general, there is not a group for me unless I purposefully seek it out.”
Of the 5,839 first-year students enrolled at UGA in 2017, over 1,883 identified as non-Caucasian. This means that approximately 32 percent of students are people of color in a majority white school. It can be easy to feel alone around people who don’t share a certain background, whether it is race, sexual orientation, religion, physical ability or other factors.
UGA has slowly been improving its diversity every year, increasing the amount of non-white and non-Christian students enrolling at the school. But there’s still a lot of ways students can feel lonely at UGA, ranging from the size of the campus to the demographics comprising it.
Loneliness on campus, whether you’re a first-year or fourth, is not something to be ashamed of. If anything, it can be a time for students to learn more about themselves, why they feel lonely and when, in addition to what helps them cope with loneliness.