Holiday loneliness, and how to cope with it

Thanksgiving can be time of isolation occurs among college students. Photo courtesy Getty Images

My advice to students who may be spending the holidays alone: go home, if possible, and enjoy time with your family.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are two holidays that emphasize personal bonds and the significance of family and friends more than any other time of the year.

During this time, family, friends and loved ones come together to celebrate. But some college students have to settle with the reality of being alone for the holidays.

Being unaccompanied during this time of year can be challenging and depressing when your classmates get the opportunity to travel worry free, especially with social media providing a periscope into people’s lives.

Some students may be forced to work through the break, while others have to pick between which holiday is more convenient for their family to make travel plans, considering some out-of-state students come from far away – and flights can be expensive.

An article on addresses a variety of reasons students may have to stay put in their respective universities:

  1. Home is just too far away, making the drive/flight too long for a mini vacation right before the semester’s end.
  2. Gas prices are too high to justify a road trip
  3. Airline ticket prices tend to increase during the holidays
  4. A last-minute emergency pops up, making the trip impossible

During my sophomore year at Florida A&M, I had to spend Christmas and New Year’s alone to raise enough money to pay rent, something I wouldn’t reconsider doing. The toll it took on my mental state was surprising. With my parents and siblings calling and wishing I was there, it made it even harder to deal with.

With Tallahassee being home to three major schools (FAMU, FSU, TCC), the capital can feel deserted or abandoned during the winter holidays. Finding something to take up your time while being alone is important to maintain your sanity.

Melissa Hosking, an English major at the University of California-Davis, published an article in 2017 titled “How to spend the holidays alone without it being depressing.” She offered some tips to cope with the loneliness you may be experiencing.

  1. Go on a day trip. Get out of the city and enjoy the scenery of some place else.
  2. Go on a day trip in your city or immediate area. There are usually a good number of places to go to in town.
  3. Work out. Try and start a routine over the break and make it a habit.
  4. Go shopping. Go out and get yourself a nice present. Black Friday is the time of the year where binge shopping is expected.
  5. Get a job for the holidays. If you don’t have one already, apply to some retail jobs. Employers are looking for employees to work temporarily over the break. It’s an opportunity to make decent money while working decent hours.

If you are struggling with separation during the holidays and want someone to talk to, visit FAMU’s counseling services, located near Polkinghorne Village at 636 Gamble St. Walk-ins are accepted and the office can be reached (850) 599-3145.