As summer began to dwindle down I — like many other incoming freshmen — was excited for the new year. The prospect of new friends, new adventures, independence and interesting classes on a beautiful campus excited me! I was excited to get out of my comfort zone and get involved in activities and organizations that would challenge me and force me to grow and evolve into a better version of myself. I was so caught up in thinking about all the fun that I had that I didn't really think about how I would mentally be able to handle all the changes.
Just to back up a little bit, I've always been a person who has appreciated my alone time. When I was younger that used to be my excuse for never wanting to hang out with other people and always wanting to spend all my time with my sister or by myself rather than admitting that I may have antisocial tendencies. As I've gotten older, I've realized the importance of having a good support system of friends to depend on as well as just learning how to communicate and network with new people so I've been able to move away from my old childhood habits, however that doesn't mean that I've become "Ms. Social"; I would describe myself as being in a nice middle position.
Now enter college: you are CONSTANTLY meeting people. And between my classes, making new friends, getting to know my roommate, navigating my career options and trying new activities and organizations, I haven't set out enough time to check in with myself and really see how I'm doing. Because I'm not used to socializing 24/7 and I feel like that's all I've been doing since I've come to college, sometimes I feel myself shutting down mentally.
I like to think about it like this: My social battery is drained and I haven't been giving it enough time to recharge. This is not to say that I don't like meeting people or that I don't appreciate the fact that I am always meeting really amazing and interesting people but sometimes you have to be selfish with your time and allow yourself to be renewed and rejuvenated. I feel like this is so essential, whether or not you are someone who loves to be social, especially in a brand new environment like college.
Always take some time out of your day to do something that you genuinely enjoy by yourself, whether that's reading, writing in your journal, or taking a run. Don't feel bad for not hanging out with people 24/7 because at the end of the day the joy and happiness that you project on other people comes from within and one of the ways to foster and protect those qualities is to spend time focusing on yourself.