I like to be alone sometimes. Yeah, I said it. If it sounds shocking to you, it shouldn’t. There tends to be a stigma associated with being alone. Many college students don’t want to be the single friend. Many don’t want to spend Friday night at home reading a book. Most don’t want to go to an event by themselves. And is it because those things can’t possibly be enjoyable? No. It’s because they mean being alone.
Because of the stigma associated with it, even if we choose to be alone, we can still feel self-conscious about it, as though everyone’s staring at us and feeling sorry for the person who they assume couldn’t find anyone else on the planet who wanted to eat dinner with her. Realistically, we know this is not the case. Though, honestly, sometimes it is; sometimes people are overly judgmental of people spending time alone. We tend to think of being alone as a sad thing. Why? What’s so sad about spending time with yourself, a person you should love?
We spend so much time trying to secure weekend plans and when they fall through, the FOMO creeps in and takes over. We scroll through Instagram, open Snapchats and binge watch shows, replacing what could be valuable alone time with self-doubt and self-pity.
Even if you didn’t plan on being alone that night, you could take advantage of the situation and use it to better yourself rather than put yourself down. Alone time allows you to reflect and focus on yourself. What do you want to do? What do you absolutely love that you keep pushing aside because of other obligations? What’s next on your reading list? When was the last time you ignored your social media notifications, listened to Beyonce and allowed your imagination to roam?
When you’re alone, you can brainstorm. Write stories. Create sketches. Craft a travel plan. Read a book. Exercise. Re-energize. De-stress. Reflect.
These are rare opportunities in college. The ability to sit alone, reflect on your life and take a deep breath is hard to come by. We should value it rather than dread it and avoid it. The key is finding a balance between spending time with other people and spending time by yourself.
Alone time isn’t a waste of time. It shouldn’t be used to count down the hours until you will be around other people again. Alone time allows you to relax, focus and do whatever it is that you want to do.
Soon, your roommates will be back home, your friends will be texting you to see what tonight’s plans are and you’ll be surrounded by people. Don’t feel bad about being alone sometimes; take advantage of it.
image via Clara Early