What I Learned from Doing Things Alone

In the past couple of months, we’ve all had to deal with social isolation, as well as getting used to doing things alone during the pandemic. While it has been difficult and not fun, it has taught us a thing or two about being alone and how to pass the time when there aren’t others around us all the time. Doing things alone is actually a very useful skill; It can teach you independence, as well as give you confidence, and help you live your best life. Studies have also suggested that doing things alone in college and in your young adult life can help you immensely. 

In middle and high school, there is a social construct that being alone is basically a sin. For example, you would never sit alone at lunch. However, in college, people sit alone in the dining hall all the time. I remembered I was terrified my freshman year to be caught sitting alone, but once I did it, I realized that nobody cared. Your friends probably won’t be around all the time to eat, but eating is something that we all have to do. It was the first step in getting to do things alone. 

After that, I started doing more and more. Another big step for me was taking trips into the city alone. If you know the New York City subway system, you know that for first-timers, it can be very scary and intimidating because it’s so big. Plus, from my school, it can be a bit of a lengthy subway ride if you are looking to go far into downtown. I was definitely nervous I’d get lost or something, but after a few times going on my own, I got used to it. Occasionally, I’ll go into the city and find a coffee shop, go to the New York Public Library to do homework, go to Central Park and take a walk, or find a new spot just anywhere in the city. Over time, I’ve actually come to like these trips to the city. They give me peace of mind and allow me to get a break from college life if I need it. 

Another thing that’s great about doing things alone is you don’t have to wait around for others to do things. When I was studying abroad, I took a weekend trip to Barcelona by myself. This was super nerve-wracking for me, but other people on the trip went places on their own, so I thought that I should too if I really wanted to go somewhere. I got on the plane by myself, got to my Airbnb by myself, and even navigated the subway system by myself the whole weekend. I think that my previous experiences of navigating New York alone allowed me to do this and feel better about it. I found that the best thing about traveling on my own was that I didn’t have to wait around for anybody. There was no sitting around and pondering about what we should do and when on the trip, I just made my list of things I wanted to do and just went for it. I was able to see all of the major attractions in two days on my own time, which I thought was pretty awesome. 

All of the things I’ve learned from doing things on my own have been very beneficial to me in the long run. I’m not scared of much anymore, and I’ve most definitely gained confidence because of it. In the end, doing things alone has taught me that if being alone is what stops you from doing something, then you’re not going to do the things you really want to do in life.