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

Learning how to love spending time on my own

I used to hate doing anything on my own. I would put off running errands like going to Target or the post office until a friend could come with me. I never saw the appeal of going shopping on my own and would drag someone to come with me. And the thought of eating in a restaurant on my own made me immediately lose my appetite. I’m pretty sure I’ve had my fair share of Mean Girls Lindsay Lohan moments where I forced myself to eat in the bathroom instead of a table just to avoid being seen eating alone. I know, super gross.

And then I moved out to a new country on my own, with no family or friends that I knew beforehand. There weren’t assigned seats or specific tables that each clique sat at. Everyone had their own thing, different schedules and plans and I was forced to confront having to do things on my own. I couldn’t even rely on knowing anyone in my classes, especially since none of my newfound friends were the same major as I was. Living alone without my parents also forced me to run more errands than I usually do and I couldn’t wait for someone else to free up their schedules just to run to the post office with me. 

I know that many people also face the same fears, and I can assure you that you’re not alone in this situation! I think growing up makes you realize that sometimes it’s good to spend time with yourself, and I’ve started learning to love going out by myself. I don’t have to feel guilty about taking as much time as I want to when going shopping or scheduling my errands when it’s best for me and not when it’s most convenient for a friend to come with. It’s also nice to just take a walk on my own and spend time with my thoughts and feelings. I love my friends and family and being surrounded by them, but my happiness doesn’t need to stem from being with them. 

Another thing to note is that people don’t care as much as you think they do. I know it feels kind of scary to be alone when everyone is surrounded by friends, like when eating alone at the dining hall or sitting outside on Bascom Hill with a book. Trust me, no one is judging you and perhaps they even admire your courage in doing so! Don’t let these intrusive thoughts about others prevent you from doing what makes you happy, or even just doing what needs to be done. Everyone is just trying to get their groceries or do their own thing, and no one is analyzing your every move. So relax, and breathe!

I won’t say my progress has been linear, and there are some days when I cancel plans with myself because I don’t feel like being out on my own. That’s totally okay! Just make sure that you’re not avoiding your tasks because of your fears, because living in fear is not a fun way to live the rest of your life. So go forth and conquer the world, readers, and know that you can be alone while not being lonely. 

Nadya Hayasi

Wisconsin '23

Nadya is a senior in UW-Madison studying History and Political Science, with certificates in Southeast Asian Studies and Public Policy. Outside of Her Campus, she spends her time going out with friends, napping, and justifying why taking the bus up Bascom Hill is much better than climbing it every day at 9am.