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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Furman chapter.

During the spring break of my sophomore year of high school, when I was told that I was going to get an extra week off, I was overjoyed. I was facing some serious deadlines that I didn’t want to deal with and had some serious House to binge.  And when that week turned into two weeks, and then a month I was still okay. Then we wouldn’t be going back for the rest of the school year. Then I found out that my mom got the job halfway across the country – and we were leaving before it was safe for me to say good-bye to my friends. I don’t think I ever properly did.

I spent a calendar year without anyone that I could call more than an acquaintance within a hundred miles of me.  I spent a lot of time in my room, doing homework, “attending” school on Zoom, writing very angsty things; generally feeling bad for myself. While I know that my story of the pandemic isn’t the worst one out there, and it led to some of the greatest experiences of my life, it has changed me as a person. Socially, I feel more awkward than I ever did before, often not knowing exactly how to switch from one experience to another. I am easily worn out by people that I don’t know well, or those who I don’t mesh with well. I find it hard to parse sarcasm, but then again that was always a problem for me. And often, I still find myself sitting in my dorm, alone.

I’ve found that I’ve become okay with being alone. Where before I would often think myself inadequate when I would spend my Friday nights in or have lingering feelings of self-hatred whenever I was forced to eat by myself, now I just don’t.  Almost entirely by force this is a part of myself I have come to terms with; learning how to sit with myself, with my thoughts, with my demons, and not have someone else come save me. While the other aspects of the changes to my personality have been annoying, and sometimes overwhelming, this one has been, largely, a force for good.

The most potent example I have for this is a mistake I made in the first couple weeks of college. I got into a relationship with a boy.  He was kind and charming, and he laughed at my stupid jokes.  After a few weeks, and without any fault from either of us, I realized that the relationship had to end. When I was standing on the edge of that chasm, trying to decide whether to jump or not, deciding to end my first ever foray into romance or not, it struck me.  Somehow, I had forgotten to make any friends outside of him.  All of my acquaintances, all of the people that I knew, had all been friends with him first, would remain friends with him after.  I was going to be alone. I would, essentially, have to start over, roll the dice again, see if anything comes up. It was terrifying; I almost didn’t leave him.

But then, one day, when I was sitting alone in my dorm, I realized I had done it before. I had been alone, in a new place, without anyone to hold on to. I had survived the exact thing that I was trying to avoid, and it helped me to find my best friend, and myself. Even if the me I found isn’t the one who went out looking.

It was hard after I took the plunge. I felt like I was right back where I started, alone and sitting in my bedroom. It felt like the hours were going to drag on and on, and that I would never be able to find the place where I really fit. I couldn’t even write angsty stuff about it, but I never stopped moving, and looking back at the end of this first semester, I can say that I did it again.  I survived. I made new connections, met new people, people who I look up to, and who I love.  People who are so much better than being alone, and I know that because I’ve tried.  

While I don’t recommend… any of the experiences that forced me to develop the ability to be alone, I know that they have made me a better person. They have given me the strength to realize that I don’t need to be around people just because they are there. It also gives faith to the relationships that I do have. So, the next time you’re between a rock and a lonely spot, sometimes it’s okay to be alone because you are better company than you give yourself credit.

Lucy Gamblin

Furman '26

Lucy is a freshman a double major in theatre and english. She hopes one day to write and perform for and on the stage and screen, but for right now she's happy just getting as close as she can. A devotee of all forms of art from a young age, she has a rule that she won't say no to any movie that she hasn't seen yet, and a to watch and to read list that's at least a mile long. She hopes to move to New York City and make it big, after figuring out the little things in college.