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Social Burnout @ College Life: How I realized it’s okay to not be a social butterfly

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Delhi North chapter.

To this day, I still distinctly remember every little detail of the first week of offline college. When the shackles of lockdown and isolation finally lifted from my life, I fully embraced the newfound freedom of travelling to new places, meeting new people, and completely devoting myself to living the perfect extroverted life. 

So much so that not even ten days into this impetuous life filled with promises of endless adventures, I was already testing the waters. And before I knew it, I had tried the waters so far that I was noticeably in the middle of an ocean, with nothing to hold on to and the very constant threat of getting drowned looming over me. 

Months later, when I finally thought I was settling myself into this new way of life, I was standing at the edge of my sanity, literally on the verge of tears. I was constantly dealing with the immense exhaustion of having to put on the mask of an extrovert. Along with it came the anxiety of adorning a constant happy and sunny persona, wanting to impress and brighten others around me. Incessant interactions with new people every day and the social maze of a new college life, which happened to be drastically different from the sheltered school life, were all factors that aggravated an eventual dissocial phase. Yet a look around at how gracefully some people handled this phase forced me to push my limits too until suddenly I found myself drowned in a constant need to fulfill my social needs on top of the ever-growing academic and co-curricular commitments. This entire escapade culminated in a week of me having no interactions with anybody and the conviction in my mind that I would remain a worthless human with only a robotic functional body and mind and no distinct personality or fun in my life to match it.

As natural introverts or even as normal human beings, we stand to possess a limit over our social interactions, which had only proceeded to shrink during the two years of the pandemic scare. The comfort of sitting at home and only having limited interactions, which usually bordered on online methods of communication, has left us much less of a social being than what we went into the pandemic as. 

This is also why it has carved young adults like us, who were deprived of their fun teen years, into people who get easily tired of prolonged social interactive settings. Devoid of life in a heavily peer-populated environment marked by shared bonding, we have naturally grown to nurture various social inhibitions. Arguably so, just like it took a lot of time to recover from the covid pandemic, equally, the social implications will take the same time, if not longer, to resume back to the normal pace. 

While looking back, I still feel that maybe the lowest of lows I found myself in was not my body going back to default mode, but merely a shutdown that was much-needed if I were to recover. Although I realize it might take me a lot of time to fully engulf myself in indulging in highly extroverted settings, I also readily accept the fact that some part of what I expected from myself is a lost cause and I will have to live with the implications of it. The greatest lesson that I believe this overly exaggerated phase of mine has taught me is that sometimes it’s okay to take small steps. A break from social media, not just for a week but for a month or two, is a normal reaction even though the feeling of missing out on everything might feel like it’s the end of the world. It’s okay to want to sleep more and not try to be the person you think others want you to be. Wanting to live the perfect college life should in no way compromise the long-term mental health effects of a hectic life draining out your entire energy. 

It’s safe to say that I’ve learned to grow a lot through this experience, especially in the circumstances of living a completely sheltered school life to being thrown completely unguarded into the vicious pit of the much-anticipated college life. I’ve come far away from wanting to change my entire personality and fit a perspective to being able to look in the mirror and accepting myself as a human with flaws without feeling the feral urge to rip apart everything or break down completely. This drastic maturing process has not only been my first individual learning process but has also led me to believe that little victories amount to greater things in life. The greatest satisfaction, which I have realized over time, is the acknowledgment that overcoming this seemingly trivial roadblock is also an achievement no less than the other feats of life.

Sitara Sigi

Delhi North '24

A history major at Hansraj college, University of Delhi. A literature nerd from Delhi who always finds herself hyperfixating on fictions and TV shows. Loves indulging in fun relatable conversations and discussions on social issues.