Is it just me? Or is it everyone else?

Student+loneliness+is+a+rampant+problem+among+high+schoolers.

Student loneliness is a rampant problem among high schoolers.

The feeling is helpless: it is an oppressive weight of realizing that high school is an empty influx of tireless emotions that every student endures.  Yet, sometimes the feeling grows and grows until it is overbearing enough that it sinks any victim into a hopeless state. Sitting alone and walking through the hall with a head up and no arm to lean against can become isolating, especially after a pandemic that forced developing teenagers to enter a door and lock it behind them.  Students are drowning in a well of this unknowing pain, and many wonder, “is this feeling just me, or is everyone around me in a similar situation?”  

I have realized this loneliness within myself for the past four years of high school, yet, it waxes and wanes accordingly.  I am fortunate that the hole I became stuck in did not swallow me whole; however, that is not the case with all students.  Even in a generation where social mobility is newly expansive, teenagers are experiencing a plague of seclusion from peers that are festering into something more serious.

How does one remediate a problem that is drastic to their lives at a moment of uncertainty?  Harboring oneself from everyone else is not a solution, even though I find myself molding into that resolution. 

Due to the subject of this article, a student from San Rafael High School wishes to stay anonymous while sharing their story.  Therefore, “Indigo Smith” will be their pseudonym.

“Loneliness affects me every day, but especially last year there were points in the year I would beg my dad to not take me to school so I didn’t have to worry whether I was sitting in isolation during lunch again.  Isolation and loneliness makes you do crazy things and pushes you to feel loved and accepted,” Smith said.

Even though it is a cause for concern over feeling completely worthless that academic performance deteriorates and social levels drop significantly, some guidance will steer one away from loneliness.  Speaking to a counselor or a trusted adult about the emotions will open an entryway for understanding and processing the problem.  Mental health, in this particular society, is stigmatized to an extent where discussing it may be uncomfortable; however, one must break the mold to become free of the burden of being trapped.  

 Lindsey Williams, an ENHS counselor, explains the overall predicament of student loneliness and how one can combat it.

“As counselors, we work with students every day that ask to change their lunch or schedule because they don’t have any friends in their lunch or classes.  It becomes a struggle for us because we want students to be happy and belong, but we can’t change every student’s schedule or lunch, and I do think that this pandemic impacted this generation of students as we are moving onto an online world that lacks social interaction,” Williams said.

Williams, during the interview, proceeded to scour the internet for a song that she believes will help many students fight the conflicting barriers of loneliness.

“There’s this song called ‘Lonely People’ by Imen Siar, and I think it speaks to what a lot of teenagers feel.  I think it would be so cool to incorporate this song into a lesson to share that there are ways to combat loneliness,” Williams said.

I wish I could coherently describe the imploding force of loneliness and how it continuously lingers at any moment, making it seem that there is a permanence to this emptiness.  My peers and I are teenagers waiting for that specific moment where the feeling is not enveloping, but until it happens, students need to reach out for help whether through resources or trusted adults.  No one deserves to suffer alone, and every voice deserves to be heard.  

 

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