My College Transition
Follow the five steps below to get the most out of your UnLonely Film Festival experience!
Step 1: Watch the film.
The glory days of college life are supposed to begin when you arrive as a freshman, right? It turns out that juggling assignments, fitting in and finding friends adds up to a major readjustment. Everyone on social media makes it look like a piece of cake, but loneliness is more common than many think. Here’s a lighthearted look at admitting to and conquering college loneliness, 101.
About the FIlmmaker
Emery, whose hometown is Montclair, New Jersey, is finishing her freshman year at Cornell’s Architecture Art Planning program. Her dream job, she says, is to be an art director: “…simply the possibility of working with a big team of creatives, surrounded by those ready to make something beautiful, just gets my blood pumping!”
Did you set out to explore loneliness in your film and if so, what prompted this focus?
My first semester in college was quite lonely. I was expecting a quite different experience – an immediate connection with those around me and a feeling of belonging on campus. However, that process took a lot longer than I expected!
Alternately, did you recognize a theme of loneliness as your project developed?
Originally it was how I was having trouble making friends, and I think while making the video I came to understand that I was lonely within my school.
Did any of your viewers give you feedback that reflected this aspect of your film?
Yes! I had dozens of people contact me saying how they felt the same.
What do you hope UnLonely Film Festival audiences, trying to make sense of loneliness and isolation and navigate a path forward, take from your film?
Making friends is a process, not something immediate. Finding your place in a community takes time, and by expecting everything to work out instantly you put so much unnecessary pressure on yourself.
Step 2: Explore these things after watching the film.
- When the filmmaker was talking about her attempts at being friendly and making friends, she described it as hard work and felt she was trying too hard. Can you relate? What strategies have you tried for making new friends? Consider the relationships you have with your current set of friends and how you forged those relationships—are there lessons to be learned?
- The filmmaker shared how she felt social media and texting exacerbated her feelings of loneliness. If you could share advice with her, what recommendations would you share for how to navigate social media? Have these recommendations worked for you personally or others close to you?
- By naming your emotions, you can give them less power over you. The filmmaker acknowledged she was struggling and was willing to talk about it publicly in this film. Do you try to talk about your emotions with people close to you? Have you ever shared any feelings of isolation or loneliness and how did that make you feel?
- Choreograph and video-record a dance in your own home. Be thoughtful about the music and the choreography. What are you trying to express?
- Commit to cinema verité on your social media platforms for a week or more. Instead of posting only the highlights of your life, including some of the everyday realities—instead of showing off that beautifully plated salmon at the latest trendy restaurant, focus your camera phone on your Tuesday night cold leftovers instead. Document and celebrate your everyday experience and add an important dose of reality to your social network. Humor helps.
- Take a few minutes to think about the places that play a prominent role in your life outside of your home, and consider whether there is a new person navigating a transition of their own. Might you have a new co-worker, a new parent and child at your child’s school, or a new volunteer at an organization you are involved with? Consider how you might try to ease their transition personally—ask them to take a walk or get a cup of coffee. You can also investigate informal ways that the institutions themselves can help new people feel comfortable, like an employee lunch to welcome new staff.
Our Try This page has even more creative expression inspiration!
Step 3: Join in the conversation about the film.
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