You’re a college student on a Friday night ready to live it up in the coolest club with the loudest music and the biggest group of friends you’ve ever had in your now-adult life. You’re not against it, but something inside you is telling you that on this particular Friday night you’d rather be living it up in your comfiest clothes, watching your comfort show with the best friend you’ve ever had in your entire life: you.
As I went off to university, I heard a lot of “this is the best time of your life”, “being social is crucial”, “you meet the most amazing people”, and “this is the time to get out there and make as many connections as you can”—high expectations, to say the least. I don’t think these are particularly damaging phrases to hear from the adults in your life, but I do think that I interpreted them wrong. I was under the impression that in order for my young adult life to be fulfilling, I needed to immediately locate and lock down an XXL friend group and go out partying every chance I had to secure those connections or risk being alone forever (dramatic af).
I quickly realized this was not my goal, which is awesome.
Yes, making friends is a huge part of university life and you do meet some amazing people, but it’s also about learning to love hanging out with yourself. This was something I forgot to embrace within my first couple of weeks. Upon finding a solid little group of people I could rely on for when my social battery was feeling up to it, I started to see the value in turning a lot of my free time into me time.
The more time I spent delving into my hobbies and things I know I love doing, without external pressures, the more I could see how cool of a person I am. I just needed to get to know myself a little better, which is arguably the most important connection you need to make in university.
The preconceived notion I had of spending time with myself being a waste of time or lazy quickly started to disappear. Spending an evening watching the most mind-numbing show after a long day of catching up on readings and going to classes: not lame. Picking up my guitar for the first time in weeks and spending time learning a new song instead of going out: not lame. Taking an everything shower, followed by applying a face mask and finally using that tiny sample of fancy moisturizer that you got from Sephora a couple weeks ago when you bought mascara that’s been sitting in the corner of your room: NOT LAME.
If you look up, you’ll see people doing stuff alone all around you. You’ll quickly realize that doing things alone is inevitable, so you might as well dive into it head first. I make sure to remind myself that making a conscious decision to choose me over external pressures is really cool, and it means that I am super in touch with my own emotions and limits.
Don’t get me wrong, my friends are awesome. I try not to forget the balance between me time and social time. Making time for the ones you love is totally essential, and it has kept me open to new experiences, which allows me to broaden my self-awareness even further. However, this is not the only way to have that “university experience”, and you won’t miss out on it by leaning into some time alone.
Everyone says that university is the time when you figure out who the hell you are, and I’m loving figuring all that out at my own pace, starting with just looking in the mirror for a while.