Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

College taught me how to be alone

Being alone is important for your own personal growth
Collegian File Photo

When one thinks about college, one usually thinks about all of the friends, the parties and the social interactions that one will encounter during their time at a university. Arriving at the University of Massachusetts as a freshman, I was excited to meet so many new people and have so many new experiences. Both of these things did happen to me, and I am so grateful for all of the people that I have met at UMass. But UMass has taught me something that I never expected that it would: It taught me how to be alone.

Being alone is sometimes seen as something that one should avoid. People think that being alone is a bad thing and we must spend all of our time with others.

Many would describe me as outgoing and talkative, so saying that I enjoy being alone is bit out of character. I thought that to do fun things or have rewarding experiences, you had to be with others at all times. I thought that I had to have someone with me to eat meals or to go get coffee. I can name a bunch of activities that I didn’t do or places that I didn’t go to because I didn’t think I could do it alone. I was scared to go to a new place alone. But with a different schedule and different interests from my friends at school, I had to spend a lot of time alone. I was forced to spend many days during my freshman year doing things on my own. I would spend my Fridays off from classes having coffee and doing homework. I tried new restaurants, went shopping, went on runs, tried new coffee places and let myself thrive in an environment controlled by myself and my wants.

I honestly thought I was weird because I preferred doing these things alone. But after talking to some of my really good friends, I found out that they also have had similar thoughts and experiences. I was telling them about how I was writing this piece, and they completely agreed. They also had days where they did things alone, and they loved those times. I know that my “me time” is important, but it is great to hear that other people feel the same way and do similar things. There will be many times in your life where you will be all alone. You may move to a new place or live alone. And sometimes, being alone is what you need. I think it marks an important part of adulthood and maturity when you realize that one of the most important people in your life is yourself. It’s not selfish to think that. Self-care and self-love are so critical, especially in college.

I was secure enough in myself to not feel lonely. It has taken me a while to realize that you can find joy and happiness within yourself. Because at the end of the day, you have to be able to be happy on your own.

You’re stuck with yourself for life. It’s important to get to know yourself, it’s important to be with yourself and it’s important to do what you want to do. You shouldn’t let being alone hold you back. Being alone doesn’t have to mean loneliness.

Do I love getting coffee with other people? Of course. But do I also enjoy having a quiet cup of coffee by myself at my favorite coffee places and journaling? Yes. It’s all about balance and about letting yourself break out of your comfort zone. I promise you that no one will think that you’re weird for eating lunch alone or shopping alone. No one is watching you, and no one thinks less of you. Don’t let these fake societal ideas surrounding loneliness stop you from doing what you want to do.

To break out of your comfort zone, start with yourself. You’ll realize that life doesn’t have to be a constant social event. Give yourself that alone time to explore. Take yourself out to lunch. Take yourself to a movie, or go to a new place. You’ll be very surprised by what you may find out about yourself.

Emilia Beuger is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected].

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    John aimoApr 26, 2018 at 3:38 pm

    This op ed brought tears to my eye. Thank you so much for writing this!