Silence is Okay

Coming into my second semester of college, I hope to overcome something that made me feel insecure last semester. It is something that I hope many people can relate to. Often times living in a residence hall, I’ll be sitting quietly in my room watching Netflix or doing my work when I hear laughing and talking down the hallway. I immediately feel like it’s not okay for me to be alone. The sounds of other people being together and having fun creeps into my concentration or the time I have reserved to spend doing something I enjoy. It might not be stemming from a place of jealousy, as I know that I have friends that I can talk to when I want, and I could probably join in on the conversation down the hallway if I really wanted to. It comes from a place of feeling like it is not okay to spend time alone.

Living in a residence hall has made me insecure about myself socially. I often feel like I have to be surrounded by people 24/7 because it feels like everybody else is. To me, it seems as though everyone is in the company of friends all the time. Logically, I know that is not true, but in my head I begin to ask myself questions. Do I have enough friends? Why am I not hanging out with people right now? Is it okay for me to be alone sometimes? Last semester, I psyched myself out and was insecure about my friends. I often felt as though the friends I did have didn’t actually like me, and they would not want to hang out with me if I knocked on their door. I realize now that those thoughts were irrational, because I know I have made great friends in college that I can count on. All those insecurities came from the toxic belief that being alone is a bad thing. The truth, however, is that being alone sometimes is perfectly okay, and actually good for your mental health.

It is perfectly normal to spend time alone, even in college where it feels like everyone is surrounded by friends all the time. Don’t feel bad if you would rather spend your Friday night watching Netflix and listening to music. Don’t feel bad if you don’t feel like talking to people. As long as you remember that you have friends you can call or hang out with when you want to, it is absolutely okay to not want to sometimes. Spend time reading, writing, or just taking care of yourself. In college, we are trying to show people are best selves for the majority of the day, so it is okay to go into your room, shut your door, and just be alone for a while. No matter what happens, remember to take care of yourself and do what makes you happy.