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Illustration by Alyazia Alremeithi

Not So Lonely @ NYUAD

“If you are lonely, there is a 100 percent chance that someone else is as well...This group creates a non-judgmental environment where anyone can hang out with anyone.”

Nov 25, 2018

Despite the close-knit nature of the NYU Abu Dhabi community and how small the campus is, students are prone to feel quite lonely from time to time. Having different class schedules than your friends, having your best friend study away for a semester or lacking opportunities to delve into meaningful conversation are examples among many instances engendering loneliness for NYUAD students. While some may enjoy their time alone, others may need company and struggle emotionally without it.
On Nov 9., Oscar Bray, Class of 2022, posted an unusual proposal on Facebook. Bray wanted to create a new Facebook group for NYUAD students looking for a study buddy, someone to spend some leisure time with or even someone simply looking to share a cab into the city. Several weeks later, with much support among members of the NYUAD community, a Facebook group was created under the name Lonely @ NYUAD.
Almost a month later, the founders and moderators of the group have agreed to share their perspective on the experience they have had since starting Lonely @ NYUAD as a platform for communication, including their opinions on the ways the group has influenced the community.
“I decided to become a moderator because I have been struggling the past few months to make new friendships with people,” said Andrijana Pejchinovska, Class of 2022. “Back in high school I was extremely extroverted and people's company is something that I crave. Yet, when I came here, I had a tough time adjusting and making new friends. Being a moderator seemed a logical decision because the group is something that I want to see prosper.”
Despite NYUAD’s efforts to facilitate bonding through numerous student activities, it is still easy for some to feel lonely from time to time. Feelings of loneliness can become exacerbated when there are so many events going on around campus intended to help students establish new friendships but fail to achieve that goal. Additionally, in being such a small campus, NYUAD creates a unique environment where two individuals can never communicate directly and yet know much about the other. Knowing most people in the community, only tangentially, can heighten isolation.
“I realized there were common areas and events going on but I wanted more casual, natural and friendly interactions and wasn't sure where to find them,” said Bray, the founder of the group. “After a few weeks I noticed many posts on NYUAD Confessions and Crushes and Compliments from people who also felt lonely and isolated, and I figured that there was a need for something like this, where people could connect, meet up and have fun, whether it's for just a couple hours or if it starts a new friendship.”
Through the simple act of authoring a quick post in the group when looking for company, feeling alone or in need of social interaction, students are able to tackle their loneliness. Lonely @ NYUAD seems to have found a new approach to bringing this community together and finding ways to keep mental health of its members on track.
“This group shows the NYUAD community that no one is alone,” said Pejchinovska. “If you are lonely, there is a 100 percent chance that someone else is as well … This group creates a non-judgmental environment where anyone can hang out with anyone.”
The group has already facilitated several instances of students successfully building friendships or spending time together — both Bray and Pejchinovska are confident about its future and hope for the platform to expand.
“Simply being around people can help improve one's mental state immensely,” said Bray. “It's always better to be silent in a room full of other silent people than to be alone in your room on a Thursday night, and if feeling a little better is as simple as making a Facebook post, why not try it?”
Anna Pustovoit is Deputy Opinion Editor. Email her at
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