Everyone has a different social experience when they’re in college. Some blossom into butterflies and make circles of friends right away. Others take time to warm up to form close bonds with people. The friendships in college are often said to follow you throughout your entire life. However, there’s no denying that there will be times in college when you’re on your own. And that’s totally okay. Despite what your social life is like in college, and despite the pressure to be social, it’s important to embrace your independence! Alone time may be beneficial in helping you enjoy your own company, ease off stress, and learn more about the world and yourself.
Here are some essential tips to being more independent in college.
College is a busy, busy time. Projects, essays, organizations, hangout sessions, jobs, internships, answering emails, the gym, parties, meetings, answering more emails...the list could go on. It’s easy to forget about something important: “me” time. (Or, you know, “you” time.) Personally, I sometimes become so occupied with college life to the point where it feels like I forget to breathe. It’s important to give yourself time to be on your own, relax, and live for you. This might mean unplugging from social media or declining the offer to play video games with a friend. In college, “me time” can be a true gift.
Explore the great outdoors (or outside the doors of your dorm)!
Wherever your college is located, there’s always more to your surroundings than the campus. Why not get some fresh air and walk to places near you school? Visit a museum and learn something that isn’t in your college textbook. Ask a local where their favorite hangout spot is. Go back in time and find out your town’s history. Or simply enjoy nature: smell the forest, hike a mountain, swim in the ocean, or if you’re in a city, walk on the grass. I recently plugged in my headphones, put on some Simon & Garfunkel, and roamed the streets of my college town. And let me tell you, it felt so refreshing to decompress.
Sometimes you just have to do what puts a smile on your face. Ask yourself what makes you happy—or find a new pastime that does—and do it. Grab a canvas, dab a brush, and paint. Go to a nearby coffeehouse, order your favorite drink, and cherish each sip. Stream a movie or TV show and delve into another world. But don’t go overboard on binge watching...you don’t want your dorm to become a dark, LCD-lit cave!
Remember it’s your experience, no one else’s
There’s often a misconception that being alone is the same as being lonely. Or that staying in on a Saturday night means you’re antisocial. College is a spectacular social experience, but it isn’t all about the parties, the chill sessions, and the friends. It’s mostly about you. Sometimes, being on our own is just what we need to find a sense of balance and peace in our daily lives. This is your time to do whatever you want, your time to celebrate who you are, and your time to seize the day. So carpe diem, fellow college kids.