So, I’m a regular reader of a Sports and Culture blog called Deadspin. You might have heard of it since the blog and its editor have been in the news quite a bit lately.
Last week, I read this essay, called “The Loneliness of The American College Transfer Student” about the author’s experience of going to a school with dreams and expectations that simply didn’t materialize, leading to the transfer out.
My own college experience was not much like the one described here, which is maybe why I found it so interesting–that and the fact that I know I’ve taught a lot of students who went through, in one way or another, experiences similar to those documented in the essay.
I sometimes forget that the so called “swirl” effect can be loaded with emotional baggage, too. The author writes:
There was a vending machine in the basement of South Quad, and I remember going down there frequently, mostly because I was fat and hungry, but also because I was secretly hoping to meet someone along the way. A girl. A friend. A Hare Krishna. Anyone. I didn’t care. I just wanted someone to talk to.
The terrible part about being lonely isn’t the isolation. It’s the feeling, deep down in your guts, that you will ALWAYS be isolated, and that you deserve it. I couldn’t make friends at Michigan, and each day I went without making a connection I felt more like I would NEVER make friends with anyone. Ever. And being alone that long made it feel as if everyone was right to ignore me. My loneliness was a kind of perverted validation of my unworthiness as someone to socialize with. I couldn’t make friends. Obviously, there had to be a reason for that. Perhaps many of them. Perhaps so many that they could never be rectified.
The language is crude in spots, and the comments are worse (which, if you know anything about Deadspin, is kind of the goal and what they’re (partly) famous for). Still, the essay is worth reading, I think.