I thought Syracuse University was absolutely perfect for me my senior year.
My decision was a compromise between quality academic programs, not in a major city, and large enough to not know everyone in your classes and around campus. Syracuse University does a good job of making a medium size school with 15,000 undergrads a lot smaller, but that became overwhelming for me.
There is a running joke that Newhouse students are in their own little world within Syracuse University. I loved that aspect when it came to smaller class sizes and being able to connect with professors. Throughout my freshman year, I joined so many organizations on campus that are jokingly considered "cult-like" because they have an exclusive process to join because of competitive auditions or formal recruitment. These organizations have made the medium sized campus into a small one in no time.
I've grown to love these organizations I am so grateful to be a part of. They've introduced me to amazing people I would've never met otherwise. I wouldn't change any of my decisions, but it gets overwhelming being around people all the time.
Finding separation from people in college is difficult, no matter where you go to college.
When I came back home for winter break, I told my parents the best thing about college was the freedom, but it came at the expense of losing personal space.
Most college students have roommates and shared common rooms. Even though you may have the room to yourself at first, your roommate has every right to come in, out, and stay as they please because that is also their space. If you're lucky, maybe you can have 30 minutes of complete privacy in a single, private bathroom, but most colleges have communal bathrooms anyway. It is so difficult to find 4 walls for yourself.
My personal definition of alone time is being isolated and in my own company. Sometimes I have to hide from the world and do my own thing.
Since I've gotten to college, I learned I am more of an introvert very quickly. It's not that I don't like people, but I get energy from being alone. If that time isn't alotted, I feel exhausted and frazzled. For extroverts, alone time can be their living nightmare.
I found that I usually study better by myself alone in a corner desk in Bird, but those are almost impossible to find. I also cannot stand background noise in a supposedly silent place. After spending time wandering around campus, I found my perfect little space to focus, get work done, and be in my own head for a little bit.
For me, studying brings me to a safe space to be alone and undisturbed for a little bit. As an introvert, social interactions can be exhausting at times and I don't want to offend anybody by zoning out. My alone time is necessary for me to maintain good relationships because I am prioritizing myself. I don't have to worry about ignoring somebody and be in my own little world.
Being alone taught me the importance of self-reflection and I wish I learned that earlier. It's completely okay to say no to group activity if you are not going to feel present or engaged with the people around you.
It is okay to take a break from people from time to time and take time for yourself. That way, you really learn how to appreciate yourself and the people around you.