Posts Tagged ‘how to avoid loneliness’

Love and Other Problems: Apathy Stretches its Jaws

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022


Apathy Stretches its Jaws

Starting Freshman year was both exhilarating and dizzying. Exhilarating in its freedom, in its increasingly clear skies and possibilities and opportunities; dizzying in its increasingly clear skies and possibilities and opportunities. What now? Thinking of the what now always sent a nauseating rush through my ribcage, bitter nausea and fear down my legs. The lack of being told what to do or who to talk to with expected, appropriate social niceties was more disorienting than I had ever anticipated.

So began my time sitting alone in cafeterias, dining halls and watching other people talk to each other instead. It was a really pathetic start, being honest. The people I had been grouped with during orientation didn’t stick around for too long and I never got to know them too well, so my routine when classes started, was just to come onto the campus, catch breakfast, finish assignments if there were any––or walk around like a fool if there wasn’t––, attend classes, do the work I had been assigned for the day, have dinner, go home. A tired, dull routine.

having breakfast alone in the first week of university :’

On our popular university Facebook forum, there seemed to be groups of people who shared my feelings, this abyssal loneliness, but strangely I never met people like this outside of that specific online sphere. Classes were a touch-and-go gameplay, a small ‘hi’ and then formal interactions. It was infuriating and it made me miss school, and that longing was not an emotion I had prepared, like watching the door in anticipation for someone particular to walk in, only to see a stranger. I missed my old friends and I missed the simplicity of getting to know people, I missed talking to people at all in fact.

If I recall my first semester now, the image I can produce clearly was sitting at a table for two in the cafe outside the library, cold air brushing my cheeks as I type quickly on my open laptop working for my chinese language class. I paused occasionally, eyes flitting from one corner to another, seeing other freshmen talking familiarly, always together, always in clusters. Those who did sit alone seemed to always have someone come up to them randomly to say hi. I just watched, my hand around the cold condensation on my cup of iced coffee. I guess there was a brownie next to it sometimes, but that was as interesting as it got. Thinking back now, the most interaction I had then was probably with the barista who worked at the cafe. Glenda, I remember her name. She called me Yiru, which was my chinese name, and the only part of the torturous routine I dug myself into that I looked forward to.

Evenings felt worse, I could see kids getting into cabs together to go around the city and wondered how I could make a friend that would do that with me too. I went for a walk around campus usually at that time, befriended the cats around the buildings enough that they started recognising me when I approached. It was a bit peaceful and a bit introspective, and I won’t be unthankful for it, but it got lonely. Miserable. Maybe I found interaction difficult purely around the fact I didn’t have to make this much effort in high school. People came into class, we talked regularly and became friends. I had assumed I could do the same class this time too, but at that point classes had been online for nearly two months, so I was just joining a zoom meeting and leaving again. When classes turned in person again, I think my time became easier, but these people had their own friends and lives of their own so it never felt like they wanted to stick around for longer than they should.

food i grabbed with friends on an island at NYU abu dhabi

I sat outside, on the rooftop of our academic buildings, maybe with a cat next to me occasionally, and looked up at the blank sky, stars drowned out with the light pollution of the city. It felt like walking through an isolated forest. The trees there would be tall and old I’d imagine. Sunlight flickers through them, sharp and hot. There is a word for it. Komorebi. I would hear the sounds of squirrels, birds. There is humming, chirping. Wings with their dense flapping. The sound of twigs snapping and creaky wood. Birds are fortunate, you must know. They have each other, mindless in their friendship, mindless in their sounds.

This first month felt like a failure, I remember. I wasn’t living how I thought I would be, I wasn’t doing as much as I thought I would be. How could I think of love when I struggled to meet anyone to make into a friend? Seeing others do more, meet more people made me feel like I was doing something wrong, there was something I was missing. The gnawing fear of missing out on key experiences grew into a pit. I wasn’t even an introverted person, I loved talking to people and getting to know them, so this struggle was even more baffling. But it did change––mid-semester was when my life started to pick up, and when I started looking forward to my days going to classes, but the first half of quietness and wistfulness always stuck with me.

Grab some spicy Indian cuisine at Mughali restaurant! I promise it’s good, food here has been great to eat, even better with people! Take this coupon with you and get 50% OFF from 11am-3pm, and 15% off for dinner!! I can recommend their Chicken Tikka!

By Mahrukh Shaikh

Mahrukh Shaikh is a student at New York University studying Business and Finance with a Marketing concentration. She has been writing and creating literature for years and is fond of various artistic mediums and social issues.

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services. At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.



Monday, October 23rd, 2017

Courtesy: Independent

Courtesy: Independent

“I prayed for the city to be cleared of people, for the gift of being alone,  a-l-o-n-e: which is the one New Yorker prayer that rarely gets lost or delayed in channels, and in no time at all, everything I touched turned to solid loneliness.” J.D. Salinger

New York can be though on you but NYU could be a lot tougher. If you come from anywhere around Asia or the countryside, you would know that nosy neighbors are bats that gained bad reputation arising from the folklore that ties them to vampires and Dracula. In terms of usefulness, bats are prime agents of pollination and seed dispersal. Often devalued, most bats are not blood sucking creatures but a friend to the mankind: killing insects those of whom are threats.

Nosy neighbours are skilled at dispersing gossip. But drifting away from the reputation of gossipy housewives in their mid-forties, neighbors drop your kids, bring you food, help you when you are locked out or when you run out of sugar.

In New York, you don’t speak to your neighbors, it’s an unspoken ground rule that everyone seems to abide by. You don’t greet them. You don’t know them. It isn’t uncommon to live in your dorm room without speaking to your suite mates for days.

Elevators give you stress and phones without signals are awkward getaways. More than anywhere in the world, New York is where you most need a friend.

My classmate, Aerin Reed comes from a small town known as Eastern Connecticut where the only revolutionary thing that has happened in the last few years is the renovation of the Eastern Village Store. Moms and gossips and hitting deer accidentally are as much a part of her childhood vicinity as are bagels, frowns and subway horrors in New York.

“My town has a thousand people more than NYU’s graduating class,” Reed said while describing her transition from a traditional small town to the city that is overly crowded even on Sundays.

Unlike her friends and classmates, Reed never dreamed of studying in a traditional campus setting, which made NYU one of her first choices. “I remember walking down the road after welcome week and thinking I do not know anyone on the street,” quite unlike the million recognizable faces she would encounter while driving a car in the part of the world which she calls “home.”

At this exact moment what she would have missed is a friend. At this exact moment she needed the kind of love Greeks call “philia.”

Philia was first used by the Greek philosopher Aristotle, who defined it as brotherly love or love shared by friends. The English language does not have a separate word for what Aristotle believed to be unconditional and pure i.e. “with good reason,” so we shall do what we always do: follow the path lead by Greeks.

New York Times columnist Frank Bruni recently wrote a column titled, “The Real Campus Scourge,” which discusses the overwhelming theme of loneliness in a campus setting. “In a survey of nearly 28,000 students on 51 campuses by the American College Health Association last year, more than 60 percent said that they had “felt very lonely” in the previous 12 months. Nearly 30 percent said that they had felt that way in the previous two weeks,” he wrote. All these folks deprived of Philia.

In New York, everything is always on the extreme as is this feeling of loneliness. No amount of Rainbow themed Starbucks or insta worthy cookie doughs can fill the void that only friendship can fill. But my dearest, you are not alone in this. New York has that power over you but you have something that the city lacks: the option to halt, start over and rebuild.

Text your freshman year roommate.

Don’t let Netflix govern your life.

Talk to the person sitting right next to you, chances are she feels the same way.

Log off Instagram.

Remember, loneliness is a feeling that is temporary. It is not a lifestyle.

Don’t just make acquaintances. Get to know them. Turn them into your friends.

Most of all, remember to let go of whatever is holding you back: fear, shyness, insecurity, rationale, over possessive boyfriend and then you will learn to live. You need a friend and so does the person next to you. All you have to do is smile.

By Sushmita Roy

Sushmita Roy is a Campus Clipper intern and a junior at NYU majoring in Journalism and Psychology. Her research interests includes immigration, human interest stories and social psychology. When she’s not studying, Sushmita enjoys catching up with friends, binge watching TV shows and cooking for anyone and everyone. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books; we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings.