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Description: As students head off to university and college campuses next week (you may be one of them) think for a minute about what might be a BIG but unexpected issue that new first year students might have to (perhaps unexpectedly) deal with? A hint might be to think more closely about students who are going away (out of their home city or town) to attend college or University. Once you have a possibility or two in mind think about what colleges and universities can or should do to anticipate and address those issues associated with the transition of first year students to their new learning environments. Now read the article linked below and see if it is describing something that occurred to you.

Source: The Real Campus Scourge, Frank Bruni, Sunday Review, New York Times

Date: September 2, 2017

Photo Credit:  Ben Wiseman, New York Times

Links:  Article Link —

Did you have loneliness on your list of possible issues? It may seem hard to imagine that going to a place frequented by 10’s of thousands of similarly aged peers could be loneliness producing. Also raised is the issue of why young people, with perhaps hundreds of friends on social media and available by smart phone, would ever be lonely. It raises the question (addressed increasingly in Psychological research) of how social networks and friend connectedness relates to, augments or diminishes real-world experiences. How much face-to-face interaction and relationship do emerging adults need to NOT feel alone and anxious? Finally, while college or university is new for first year students having first year students arrive on one’s campus is most certainly NOT new for colleges and universities. The article mentions some efforts to address this through the design of student living spaces but what about students on many campuses who are commuting to campus from their local homes? They may have a few friends in place but are still likely alone and isolated within their new college and university learning environments. What should higher learning institutions be doing about that? Finally, how might we help students better prepare for these issues in order to ease their transitions into post-secondary learning environments?

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How can college and university first year students be lonely when surrounded by other students?
  2. What sorts of things could or should colleges and universities do to reduce the impact of this issue (and related issues)?
  3. What sorts of things can first year students do to either prepared themselves for these transition issues or to cope with them when they find themselves immersed in them?

References (Read Further):

There are a number of links in the articled linked above to websites talking about practical approaches to these issues.

Wei, M., Russell, D. W., & Zakalik, R. A. (2005). Adult attachment, social self-efficacy, self-disclosure, loneliness, and subsequent depression for freshman college students: A longitudinal study. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 52(4), 602.

HENNINGER, I., WILLIAM, R., Eshbaugh, E. M., OSBECK, A., & MADIGAN, C. (2016). Perceived Social Support and Roommate Status as Predictors of College Student Loneliness. Journal Of College & University Student Housing, 42(2).

Bek, H. (2017). Understanding the Effect of Loneliness on Academic Participation and Success among International University Students. Journal of Education and Practice, 8(14), 46-50.