Kristen Bryant-Thinking In A Lala College Sweatshirt

The Art of Enjoying Your Own Company: My Top 10 Solo Activity Recommendations

When friends and family told me all of the fun things that college would entail-- going out, meeting new people, studying abroad--one thing that was never mentioned is how lonely college can be. It’s not exactly something people like to admit, but college can feel isolating and it takes a while to get used to spending so much time by yourself. As a college freshman in her first semester during a pandemic, I can’t say that I spend every waking moment socializing and living some big, grand life. In fact, I would go as far as to say that close to nobody is doing that right now. What I can say is that time alone does not have to be a shameful or sad experience; rather, it is an essential part of being human. If you do not enjoy your own company, how should others expect to? I think it is time to progress past believing the myth that we need others to complete us, which only perpetuates loneliness, and instead take the time to make sure we can complete ourselves first. 

 

In my few months here, I have compiled a couple of activities that I recommend you try if you ever have a chunk of time to spend by yourself at Tulane: 

  1. 1. The Meditation Garden in Audubon Park

    If you are a Tulane student and you have never been to the meditation garden before, I strongly urge you to do so. It is about a quarter of a mile down the walking path if you turn right at the entrance. I find that spending a lot of time alone in my room can end up feeling claustrophobic, so if you’re the same way, this is a perfect activity for you. There are benches to sit on, a fountain, chill music, and, if you’re lucky, some dogs! 

  2. 2. Taking the streetcar on an adventure 

    Another activity I find especially fun and empowering to do alone is to ride the streetcar. Oftentimes campus can begin to feel like a bubble and it’s important to remember there is a big, grand world out there. Bonus: If you ride the streetcar to Oak Street, there is a pumpkin patch in the fall!

  3. 3. Picking up a new hobby

    I know that this is a cliché recommendation, but I promise that having a hobby is a great way to ensure that your alone-time can always be filled with something enjoyable. Also, tracking improvement in a hobby over time is a great way to build confidence. Recently, I have been painting, which means afternoons in a beautiful, sunlit studio. This led me to the realization that developing a hobby that you can do in an enjoyable place allows you to get out of your room and establish an oasis of peace and enjoyment. Also, if you end up finding a hobby you love, there is most likely a club related to it that you could join. 

  4. 4. Listening to podcasts

    Ok, I know you probably think podcasts are for millennials and yoga moms, but I beg you to reconsider. At times when I wish I had a little bit of company or want to pass the time semi-constructively, podcasts are my go-to. While there are a sickening amount of self-help and education podcasts at there, there are also ones hosted by hilarious and relatable hosts. Here are some of my recommendations:

    Let Me Ruin Your Life by Serena Shahidi: Serena is a student at FIT and a TikTok legend. Listening to her podcasts genuinely feels like having a funny conversation with my friends. I love turning this on when I want a laugh and a friend.

    The Daily: Now this is a little bit more of a serious podcast, but I love listening to it when I’m getting ready in the morning or before bed. It is hosted by the New York Times and covers the most pressing issue of each day. I always feel informed when I’ve listened to it and it is usually only 20-40 minutes long. 

    The Endless Honeymoon: This is another podcast that I love when I’m in need of a laugh. It is hosted by Natasha Leggero and Moshe Kasher who are a married comedian couple. I highly recommend this if you’re feeling mushy as it is mostly about relationships. 

    Acting My Age: I love this podcast when I feel like I need a mood booster. Rohini Elyse is funny and keeps things light while also addressing the ups and downs of being a woman.  

    2 Dope Queens: Warning - one time this podcast made me laugh so hard that I fell on the treadmill and skinned my knees. It is hosted by hilarious best friends Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams, who explore everything from romance to race to shrimp scampi. Definitely recommend, definitely do not recommend listening on a treadmill as you will probably laugh out loud. 

  5. 5. Having a cleaning self-care day

    I find that if I have a whole day that I know I will be spending inside (especially during hurricanes) that it is always enjoyable to feel clean and rejuvenated. In my personal routine, I love to wash and dry my sheets, and taking a shower while they’re going, so that I can be nice and clean and I can hop into a crisp, warm bed. Seriously, if you haven’t tried this, it is life changing. I’ll also include the occasional face mask, hair mask, nail polish touch-up, etc, but, of course, add to this according to your personal hygiene habits. A day spent in bed can often end up feeling stuffy and somewhat gross, but this trick always makes me feel more fresh and relaxed. 

  6. 6. Trying exercise classes at Reily

    Listen, I hate cardio just as much as the next person and I’ve had my struggles in the past keeping myself motivated to work-out. If you already have your exercise routine down, all the power to you, but if you need more structure and motivation then I highly recommend signing up for the workout classes at Reily. I know exercise can be a dreaded activity, but Reily offers all kinds of different classes and many are beginner-friendly. They have a huge variety, including yoga, pilates, spin, strengthening/conditioning, and even dance-based classes. To sign up, download the IMLeagues app and check out the group exercise classes.

  7. 7. Keeping a journal

    I am sure you have heard all about the benefits of keeping a journal and I am here to echo those sentiments completely. I promise you will never, ever regret keeping a journal. It is so important to allow ourselves the space to listen to our inner dialogue and make sense of our thoughts and feelings. There are no rules in journaling; you could write one sentence or a whole memoir. You could draw, speak into your voice memos app, anything. It is also really fun to look back on journals from the past to remember how much you’ve grown. I could not recommend this one more.

  8. 8. Visiting a museum

    One amazing thing about going to school in New Orleans, among many, is that it has such a rich history and unique presence of academics and artists. To seize this opportunity, I recommend visiting at least a few of the museums. Those that I have either been to or have been recommended to me include the Museum of Art, the WWII Museum, the Jazz Museum, and the Museum of Death. Plus, going to a museum by yourself is a surefire way to make you feel very adult-like!

  9. 9. Writing a letter

    Expressing gratitude is something that will always boost your mood and make sure you are not taking the people and things in your life for granted. You could write a letter to a loved one, a future or past self, or even to something you are grateful for. Just the other day, I wrote an ode to my dorm room microwave. Plus, if you are writing to someone, mailing a letter is another way to feel extra grown-up. And who doesn’t love receiving hand-written letters?

  10. 10. Resting

    Finally, if all of those tasks seem far too daunting, listen to your body and understand when it is time for some well-deserved rest. As college students, we are chronically overworked and criminally underslept, so never feel guilty for allowing yourself a break.

If you are feeling especially lonely right now, no matter the reason, know that you are not the only one. Also know that in this vast and sometimes scary world, you always have you. Connection is a natural human desire, and there is certainly a time and place for it, but on those days when it feels like you against the world don’t be afraid to bask in the pleasure of your own company!