Alone Time in College
I had previously written an article on the importance of self-care and I’m assuming that some of you read it and thought “hey, that’s a cute mantra and I’m all about that vibe but I HAVE A SOCIAL LIFE TO LIVE AND THE FRATS ARE ONLY GOING TO HAVE ENDLESS PLASTIC HANDLES TIL 1 AM, SO…GOTTA GO!”
To which, I’d like to respond with the utmost empathy and sigh of, “yep, been there, done that.” But if there happens to be someone out there reading this with hopes of pacing their first year out of the nest out appropriately with fun times and relaxation, I think this article will be another tool in keeping you sane.
Taking care of yourself is so important, especially when the one, two, three, or maybe a whole village, of people who have been guiding you through it up until now are no longer in your daily life. “Adulting” can seem like a lot, but no one’s asking you to pay a mortgage right now! We’re just hoping you don’t crash and burn by thinking you can rely on Lucky Charms for all of your meals.
A big part of self-care is taking time for, well, yeah super repetitive but: yourself. And a great way to do that is to have really good Alone Time. Not that kind of alone time. I mean I guess that counts, but I’m talking about something that lasts longer than 6 minutes. (AYOOOOO! BURN!)
The first thing you should note about Alone Time is the first word: alone. College is where social butterflies only get ‘roided up on more social interaction-endorphins, and when “everyone’s doing it” you feel like you should be too. Are the kids still referencing “FOMO?” Because that definitely got me to every frat party, even if I didn’t necessarily want to go. (And pro-tip: drinking on a mood of annoyance that you’re at a party you didn’t really want to be at usually makes the night a shit show of regrets.) So even if the first thing that came to your mind is “Yoga!” for your Alone Time activity, try to hold back on asking your roommate if she wants to join in. Doing things that you really want to do, just for yourself, will lead to tremendous growth. Alone time doesn’t have to be solitary – you can try going somewhere or doing something just by yourself.
An easy way to get Alone Time in is through reading a book—something you’re genuinely interesting in, even if it’s just 30 minutes before bed. Doing that every night will help regulate your social phases and your unaccompanied phases immensely. Doing so may require you to find a good space for alone time.
Sure, Alone Time can be stumbled upon during small spurts through out the day like walking to class, or arriving to an event early, but usually we’re too plugged into music or social media to really be with ourselves. We’re just fulfilling the social void by seeing what everyone else is doing and making opinions off of that rather than looking into ourselves and our own interests and needs.
If the possibilities aren’t rushing through your head consider some of the following: taking a stroll with out having your phone out, seeing a movie, writing in a journal, working out, taking a drive, checking out an animal shelter, going shopping, or working on a solo project. If you truly are too much of a social butterfly to sit alone, consider starting something on your own like taking a new class (cooking, painting, something not grade-related), you’ll be surrounded by people who could become friends!
The best part of Alone Time, is if you truly experience it, when the social invite comes around—which it always does—you’ll enjoy it that much more.