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Cherish the time you spend alone | The Triangle

Cherish the time you spend alone

Photograph courtesy of Hendrix Baby at Flickr

My time in college so far has taught me the importance of many things including time management, planning, problem solving and exploration. One thing I’ve learned rather recently that is just as meaningful to me as the others I listed, is the value of being alone.

We always hear the same thing, nobody wants to be alone, and that’s true. Nobody wants to truly be alone. Human interaction is something that people need as individuals. When I say that I’ve learned the importance of being alone, I mean it in a very particular sense.

My freshman and sophomore years of college were a lot like most other people’s. I messed around, tried a lot of stupid things and made mistakes, but I studied and kept my grades up. The whole nine yards. I was also addicted to hanging out with people. Now, I’m not using the word addicted in a negative sense. It’s simply the only word that captures the point I’m trying to make here.

I had such a need to be around my friends that I could have gone mad had I been alone long enough. I was at a point where, almost daily, I would constantly message people to see if they were free. We could go to movies, get food or study; I didn’t care. I just wanted social interaction of some sort with someone I knew. It took me a while to realize it, but eventually it dawned on me that I was always bored out of my mind when I didn’t have anyone to hang out with. Unfortunately, realizing that only made me more desperate to spend time with my friends.

Getting back to the word addicted, too much of anything can have negative effects. This was clearly the case with me, as I couldn’t go a day on my own. At the same time, I never had to, as there was always at least one person who was free to hang out. That seems to be how things go in college.

Once junior year came around, I started to become more of a loner. By loner I don’t mean I hate hanging out with people. Being social is something I still enjoy; I’m sure I won’t ever get bored of interacting with people because that’s impossible for someone like me. When I say loner, I mean that I prefer solitude. I never feel lonely when I am alone anymore unlike freshman year and sophomore year when I dreaded being alone.

Now, I’ve found a healthy balance where I enjoy spending time with people just as much as I enjoy my time without people. I think it’s important for people to recognize that having a happy medium when it comes to social interaction can be a beneficial thing. Always needing to be around other people can potentially lead to always needing social interaction, such as I did in my first two years of college. On the other end of the spectrum, spending all of your time alone can potentially make you not want to socialize at all.

By balancing the two equally, you can reap the benefits of both without having to deal with the negative repercussions. However, balancing the two equally is tricky. There’s no real way I can give the perfect advice on how to do this because it’s truly a personal journey. Everyone is different and we all require different levels of social interaction. The only piece of advice I can really give is that you need to do what feels right to you. If you feel the need to go out and have a good time with your friends, do it. If you feel like staying in for the night and just relaxing, do it. We’re all our own best friend at times, so take advantage of it.