Combating Loneliness with Comfort and Support

By Sarah Miller – Horizon News & Features Editor

Autumn Gehman, Jenna Boller, and Rebecca Kaufman enjoying a night with their Life Group.

College can be scary.

You move out of your home and into a tiny room with a stranger. You’re lucky if you know a few people on campus.

And when you’re surrounded by unknown people, loneliness creeps out and takes over. 

Education columnist Frank Bruni explored that idea in a recent piece for “The New York Times.”

The article included comments from lonely college students.

“There I was, alone, with all these people around,” one college freshman said.

Another said, “I didn’t know how to be someone new while at the same time being who I always was.”

Hesston students aren’t immune to that struggle. That’s why this year, students and faculty across Hesston College campus are participating in Life Groups, groups of around five students and a leader who get together to relax and talk about life.

Deedee Landes, who originally began the push for Life Groups, noticed female students looking for more support as they entered the new world of college.

“At home there were ​youth group sponsors, parents, pastors but now that they were here at college, where do they go?” she said. “We as women need to learn to communicate with one another and not be superficial, but rather how to show and talk about who we really are prompted formation of these groups.”

Life Groups are about having genuine conversation and exposing vulnerable parts of yourself in a safe, supportive environment, Landes said.


The New York Times’ article digs deeper into the loneliness issue most college students face. Julie Lehman, in addition to a Life Group leader, is also the campus counselor and provides resources for self-care, healthy relationships, anxiety, depression, and more.

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