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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 Towson chapter.

By Mary Adewole

We all come from different aspects of life. In every single one, we have heard that college is supposed to be a place where we find ourselves and discover different things. When we set foot on the campus of our choosing, we are also constantly told to get involved and be around others to make connections.

Freshmen excitedly move in with the thoughts of making friends to enjoy college, finding the right parties and being in the right clubs and groups.

Sophomores begin to realize the course load it takes to obtain their degree and learn how to schedule their time for work and friends.

Juniors can see the light at the end of the tunnel. They start looking for internships and trying to utilize the connections they have made.

And seniors find themselves in a bittersweet space. The official adult life is right next door and their careers are something they must reach out to grasp to stay afloat.

So, throughout these four years, some people find their forever friends, their likes and dislikes and even their safe spots. However, regardless of the classification, as we are all constantly chasing something else, whether that be the satisfaction of obtaining a degree or finding love in an unexpected outing, most people graduate, never mastering the art of being alone.

So, what is the art of being alone?

It’s seeing the world in slow motion.

Noticing the shadow of your body as you walk down the pavement of the street.

Watching the leaves fall and hearing yourself breathe in and out.

Being alone is falling into time, feeling the seconds, embracing the minutes and holding onto the hours.

I know for some, college can feel lonely. It can also feel overwhelming.

Everything is going by so fast and you constantly feel out of breath, trying to catch up and do the things you should do before your college years are over.

But once you have mastered the art of being alone, a certain peace engulfs you, allowing you to acknowledge the things you can control, such as your body and thoughts, and can’t control, like other people’s actions and words.

Mastering this art is a process, and the lesson swept me off my feet.

In my freshman year, I had a blast of fun with the most amazing people. However, the reality of the people you meet freshman year is that they don’t stay for the rest of the time you spend in school. By sophomore year, some would have transferred or moved off campus and others would drift apart due to the workload they have on the table.

I didn’t know how alone I would have felt at the beginning of my sophomore year. Honestly, I didn’t like it. I wasn’t used to it.

At first, I was sad. How will I have the same thrill and enjoyment as freshman year? I constantly asked.

Do I have to restart from scratch with my connections? Will I have to be a loner?

Then I was angry. Why do I need people for everything? I didn’t come to college to be more dependent on others on my journey in life. I can do things myself.

Out of anger, I decided to go to a party alone.

I was nervous, my heart was beating fast and I felt out of place,

But then adrenaline filled me out of nowhere and I lost myself in the crowd,

Contentment soon came not long after that.   

In the middle of the sweaty body heat, with the irony of doing something alone while surrounded by strangers, being anything but alone.

I no longer cared to know the warmth of those around me while I swayed my problems away temporarily.

I didn’t feel the anxious nerve to look for the judgy eyes that might find mine or the hungry lip bites that made my skin want to turn inside out.

I danced when I liked to,

Sat on the sidelines when I felt the need to

And left on my own time because I wanted to.

When I got back to my dorm, I relaxed and winded down.

There was this feeling I got that I needed to feel again.

Although this was never meant to happen, it was an epiphany I didn’t want to lose.

I started small.

I would go to the dining hall myself. I ate my food peacefully, legs crisscrossed on the chair while watching my rom-com. My peripheral view occasionally catches others come and go.

Sometimes I stayed in my room, focusing on what I needed to do in my bubble, with calming music blasting in my ears. 

This was just me and time, and this was okay.

See, the thing is, the fear of missing out is just another type of anxiety to control something that is out of my bounds.

Everybody always falls to the forceful pushing of constantly engaging with other people. Still, the truth is you don’t have to.

Being able to accept that is a skill.

You don’t have to go to the party that has 200 likes on Instagram,

Soon you will see that it is the same music, with the same people, at the same venue.

If you miss a few events on campus because you are tired, it is not the end of the world.

Eventually, you will know that there are constant opportunities to engage. You cannot make connections if you don’t have the energy to connect.

When you can’t get out of bed due to the weight of everything you have been carrying finally making itself noticed and pushing you down,

It does not make you lazy. It means you must deal with this before forcing yourself to go to class and pretending to comprehend the words before you.

College makes you constantly around others, so you might need to remember how to be by yourself and do things alone.

The repetitive saying to get out and connect is being told for a reason. It is still essential. But it is also equally valid to put yourself and your mind first before anything.

Choosing to be alone, to disregard everything and everybody else from time to time, does not make you a bad person. However, it makes you balanced for learning the art of being alone.

But the art of being alone is not just self-isolation. It is also about being able to feel and acknowledge only yourself and the things you need to do amid other people.

And so,

I didn’t feel the need to ask my friends to go out constantly.

I simply got up and did it myself if I wanted to do something.

There was no pressure, no dependence, just me and my tasks.

In the end, dear readers, as we get involved on campus, meet other people, progressively learn how to use a calendar or planner, and experience all that college has to offer. It is required to find the time to be by yourself. It is with solid recommendation to learn how to tune others out in loud spaces.

Because yes, college is indeed about making relationships with others, but it is also about creating a deeper connection with yourself.

They say to be yourself is the best thing to be, but to be able to be by yourself is the most peaceful skill to have.

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Mary Adewole

Towson '26

Mary Adewole is a Towson University sophomore pursuing a degree in Business Admin with a Marketing concentration, along with a minor in Information Systems. However, that is just the surface of where her interests lie. Mary also enjoys all writing that brings a sense of self-reflection whether that be culture, wellness & life. Although raised there for a short amount of time, she was born in Nigeria and is the oldest of 3 siblings. She currently works to be a student advocate in different organizations, such as her university's SGA. As a writer and an individual, Mary believes that sometimes, it can be difficult to be your own person, especially when the systematic paths presented are so confining. She hopes her words can one day inspire someone to break free and be who they want to be, and not have to be.