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Socializing is very draining, especially after the isolation the pandemic forced everyone into, AND especially if you are an introvert. I think now more than ever, my friends and classmates feel this way because of this shift — extroverts and introverts alike.

I spent most of my time these past two years around three people: my mom, dad, and brother. In the beginning, this was weird, as it was completely different from what I experienced in my day-to-day life. I went to school every day, with 30-35 kids in most of my classes. But then after a while I got used to the change and I liked it. 

I got used to not seeing a lot of people and that was completely fine by me. 

I was still in contact with my friends on a daily basis and “saw them” (FaceTimed) every once in a while and then (socially distanced) met up with them on occasion. It seemed like the perfect system — I got to choose the amount of interaction I wanted daily and I could prepare myself for what would happen when I did socialize. 

Months passed, and things remained the same. Then I came to college (for the first time) in the spring, and classes and clubs were online but socializing seemed to be taking place in person. I was still used to how things were previously, so I simply stayed in my room and came out when I needed to (basically only for food). And I was still fine with this system — it was a comfortable system for me, and generally, when I find a comfortable routine, it’s hard for me to get out of it. 

I got the personal space and time I needed, and I still got the socializing that I needed. 

Fast forward to this semester (Fall 2021), everything and everyone is back on campus. There are in-person classes, in-person clubs… basically college life as before, but with masks. 

And I feel more drained than ever. 

Even before the pandemic, I liked my time and space; and if anything, the pandemic amplified this feeling — I need a lot of personal space and time, or else I feel like something is wrong. I like to destress and “de-charge” from social situations and environments that I’ve been in. And it was okay the first couple of days we were back because I didn’t have a lot of work, and I could simply focus on the self-care tasks that I had to do. 

However, this no longer remains to be the case, everything is back in full swing, and I feel like I don’t have enough time to do what I need. And by need I mean, tasks I need for myself to feel better and more ‘rejuvenated’ throughout the day. 

It’s challenging to try and finish (or at least try to tackle) my to-do list after everything else I have to do during the day. So many times, I simply forget or ignore the smaller things (like more sleep, quiet time, journaling, etc.) because of how drained I feel after classes. 

Currently, I’m working on finding something I can do at the end of the day so that I still get the time I need to reflect and move forward. 

I’ve found that journaling while listening to music that makes me happy — throwbacks or artists I used to listen to — has really helped me. I get to think about and reflect on my day, find what worked and what didn’t, and then think about what will happen in the future — manifestation, as some call it. And doing this while listening to music is also nice because I find that sometimes I don’t get to listen to music at all. 

Different things work for different people. However, I think that an excellent way to get back into socializing while still prioritizing your needs is to reflect on what has already happened and think about what could happen.

Mahati Shastry

Columbia Barnard '24

Mahati is a sophomore at Barnard who is excited to experience the wonder that is NYC. She loves reading, writing, and spending time outdoors. Even though she is just entering the Barnard family, she already feels like she’s at home. Currently, she is undecided but is very interested in political science and human rights. :)
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