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A Guide to Embracing Self-love Amidst College Expectations

Self-love looks like this, this, this, this!

Credit: Shutterstock/DavideAngelini

The college life is portrayed in a very sociable perspective by the media. Hollywood idolizes it and social media glorifies it. There are fraternities, sororities, and (of course) parties. These are the main ingredients of college that gets highly represented and paints a glamorized version of it. Truth be told, college does give students many opportunities to build relationships with others. However, people can also feel incredibly lonely. So, this is for the people in college who find it difficult to make genuine connections with others in a busy environment, and how to take that struggle and turn it into your fuel to prioritize yourself first.

During your college years, a big part of the that lifestyle that also gets highlighted is the dating scene. There’s this feeling of hopelessness when it comes to forming relationships with others. Whether it’s romantic or Platonic during the college years. When in college, dating apps can be an energy draining cycle. Going out by yourself and meeting new people can be intimidating. But when you put your mind and heart in a certain position, you’ll find that you will be more satisfied with yourself. Then in return you’ll also be attracting like-minded people in the process.

There’s a lot of hype surrounding the party/dating life side of college that gets romanticized. Although, for a lot of people, that’s not always the case. It can begin to feel very lonesome, which could lead to questioning yourself and become emotionally draining. So, here are five helpful tips for navigating self-love during the hustle and bustle of college. 

Students learning in a college classroom.
The power of a college lecture. Credit: Shutterstock/Areipa.It

1. The Classroom

One of the first steps in prioritization of oneself begins where you learn—the classroom. It’s most likely where your peers share similar interests as you, and it’s also a golden opportunity to make new friends. I know this is a bit more complicated than simply saying, “Hey, nice to meet you. I also find ENGL 380 interesting. Want to grab food after class?” It sometimes takes more than a basic introduction to actually build a connection, whether your intentions are romantic or platonic. However, it can be the foundation to something even bigger—a steppingstone.

The most efficient way to continue conversation with other students is to be consistent. Maybe the person sitting next to you can be the person you converse with daily, or if you’re put into a group setting, it’ll give you a chance to form relationships with others. This example can be applied if you are wanting a new friend or even if you find someone attractive. Having one thing in common like being in the same lecture is a gateway to other conversations outside the classroom.

Now, once you’ve tried to create consistency, this is the perfect time to web your way into spending time with people in a different environment. A simple way to approach this is by exchanging contact information, which can be done by asking for help with assignments and then using that as leverage to ask the person if they want to study at a café or whatever you’re interested in going to. I know asking to hang out can be outside of someone’s comfort zone, but that leads into the next tip!

A pawn chess piece but its shadow is the queen.
Confidence is key. Credit: Shutterstock/Ronstik

2. Confidence

This is one of the most significant aspects for romanticizing yourself, and it starts with you! Learning to gain confidence is probably the most difficult skill to learn for most people, too. However, there are few ways to begin believing that you are a self-assured person. Shifting your focus onto yourself is a key factor for confidence, for example, exploring different hobbies or interests. Maybe that’s theater, or art, or engineering, but whatever it may be it’s an opening to understanding yourself more while using that to your advantage to make connections.

Colleges normally have a week when all clubs, sports, fraternities, and sororities promote their organization. This will allow you to dive into something that actually excites you and can be used socially. Being in a setting where your main goal is to sublimate your interests will eventually turn into an opportunity to meet new people in the same boat as you. Focusing on the things that bring you genuine joy will boost your confidence because being happy with yourself is the ultimate secret to everything. Coming from a new fourth year student attending UC Riverside, Mason Acosta says,

“When I had a falling out with my primary group of friends last semester it forced me to be content with myself. It was during that time that I fell in love with exercising, cooking, and tarot card reading. I don’t think I would’ve discovered this part of myself if I didn’t have the time or space to figure that out alone. I’m now more in tuned-in with myself and it allows me great balance while finishing out my last year at UCR.” 

Mason Acosta

It becomes easy to be dissatisfied with yourself when you don’t have your thing or hobby that adds to your character and makes you proud to be who you are. Also, as a bonus tip, pampering oneself can also come in handy for a confidence boost. You feel good when you look good. So, if you’ve been wanting that new haircut–go for it! Go on a shopping spree. Get a massage. Treat yourself as the worthy person you want to manifest. 

There's a blurry city in the background with a glasses frame that make the vision of the city clear.
A new outlook on life can be a game changer. Credit: Shutterstock/Golden Dayz

3. New Perspective

A new mindset is also a game changer for prioritizing yourself. Instead of your every thought consuming you about how to socialize with others and establishing relationships, it’s time to pull out the reverse UNO card and think of yourself as the prize. It’s no longer “do they like me?” or “how can I get them to like me?” Start switching it to “do I actually like them?” and “what qualities do they have that align with mine?”

With this change of perspective, it allows you to focus your energy on building substantial connections with others and not wasting energy on shallow relationships with people. This rule can be applied romantically and platonically while navigating the social construct of college. Many people spend a lot of time worrying about “fitting in” and being accepted by the majority of society or by the people that you want to like you when in reality romanticizing yourself to the point where you believe that you get the choice of who has the pleasure to know you is the ultimate way to present yourself.

Furthermore, it is important to remember to not see this new perspective as an egotistical strategy. It’s purely to recognize your worth with humility. It’s realizing who you are and what you offer and wanting a relationship that matches with you instead of resorting to people pleasing your way into relationships. This will accumulate into healthier connections with others and make lasting relationships with people that will stay strong even after college. 

A floral meadow peak with a person standing atop it while looking at the blue sky.
Enjoy the simple, quiet moments when you can. Credit: Shutterstock/Jorm Sangsorn

4. Appreciate Your Solitude While You Can

Lastly, you can find peace with being alone. It’s a perfect time to do some soul-searching and become more intuitive with yourself when you value your alone time. Take that opportunity to romanticize that in college. It gives you the chance to center yourself throughout the chaos and to put your own needs first because once you’ve entered a relationship or a friendship, sometimes it comes with compromising your ‘me time.’

You will have to start putting effort into maintaining your connections with people, and college is already a hustling environment where you’ll have to prioritize your time correctly. And I know it can feel lonesome when you’re by yourself majority of the time, but if you put everything else into practice, things will begin to feel less lonely or boring. You can use your new profound appreciation of solitude to connect with nature, work on mental health, or reconnect with your body. Even when you do establish a friend group or get into a relationship, it’s still highly important to still prioritize this because between the college lifestyle and your personal life, you’re still going to want to stay grounded within yourself. 


Overall, focusing on yourself is not an easy task. It requires intentional effort, especially in the midst of college, but once you’ve seen what it can offer and look at the bigger picture, you’ll realize it should be at the forefront of what you should focus on. And in due time, everything else will fall into place. 

Written By

Hello! My name is Teylor and the three things that make me, me are novels, dance, and my unlisted guilty pleasures.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jessica Quiko

    September 16, 2023 at 6:12 am

    Amazing writing!!! Love this article, keep writing for college students Teylor!!! 👏

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