As I step out of my dorm, a sharp gust of wind slaps me across the face. September has certainly set in, as it’s bitterly cold. I glance at my phone, pulling up the weather app, and the screen informs me that it’s an abysmal 51 degrees in Oxford. Sighing, I get on my bike, scrunch down into my jacket and head off to class.

After sitting through an absolutely riveting session of statistics, I’m back out in the crisp fall air. It’s warmed a little and I no longer shiver relentlessly as I pedal my bike back towards Collins hall. But despite the pleasant temperature change, I feel indescribably worse than I did on my way to class. I realize that I haven’t spoken to anyone all day.

My hand subconsciously reaches for my phone, searching for validation in texts and snapchats that aren’t there, then return the device to my pocket. I trudge past groups of my fellow Miamians, talking like old friends, and a sharp pang of loneliness twists itself in my gut.

Stopping at the edge of Cook Field, I scan the vast campus before me. In this one panorama, I can count more students than the entirety of my high school. Amidst this sea of strangers, I can’t help but feel isolated.

Sure, I’ve gotten people’s phone numbers and made a few introductions over the past week, but none that really felt genuine. Nothing seems like it will ever come close to the friendships and bonds I formed back home.

Suddenly, the bell tower belts out an eerie rendition of “It’s a Small World.” A humorless smile spreads across my face as the irony of the situation hits me. Here, at a university five times the size of my home town, surrounded by people whose names I’ll never know, I’m being told that “it’s a small world after all.”

I shake my head to clear it, driving out the hollow feeling resting in my stomach. I remind myself of the club meeting I’m looking forward to, the lunch date I have with dorm mates and even some of the classes I’m starting to like. Sighing once more, I settle into the strange half-sadness, half-optimism that has become the norm over the past week, and head off for the dorm again.

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