What You Learn When You're Alone
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Politics and Activism

What You Learn When You're Alone

Sometimes you're your own best company

What You Learn When You're Alone
Kate Decoste Photography

Things I learned when I had to live alone:

So far in college, I haven’t spent much time by myself.

Living in the dorms, going to a school of 25,000 students, and attending classes with sometimes 500 other people in them, really gets you used to living life constantly with other people. If you’re lucky like me, you’ll find plenty of friends in your dorm and on your campus, and you’ll find yourself spending plenty of time having fun. Even when you’re not having fun, you often share the task of studying with study groups, dinner and exercise with a buddy, and even your living space with another person. To some, this sounds great. Often times, it is. However, one thing that college has not done for me is taught me how to live alone. I have always been a wildly independent person. I have never had any problem going anywhere or doing anything without anyone else. I enjoyed long drives, lone shopping trips, and long days in the corners of coffee shops. It’s not that I no longer enjoy those things, but rather they’re less available, or they’re not my first choice.

If I don’t have homework, I’m with my friends. If I do have homework, I’m probably procrastinating with my friends. If I’m alone, I’m probably not really alone but watching a movie in my room that I share, or on social media. Today a challenge was presented to me. I was finally forced to be alone. Really alone. Not the whole walking to class alone or going to study in the library alone, but really alone. My best friend told me something that hurt me. Because of this, I made the conscious decision to not talk to her for awhile. This was hard, as you can imagine. I couldn’t text her about the cute boy that sat by me at dinner. I couldn’t ask her what she was doing, or if she wanted to hangout. I couldn’t tell her when a girl on our floor made me uncomfortable. I couldn't ask her to go get free pancakes with me. Most importantly, I couldn’t vent to her. This is what hit me the most. Friends are there for the good times and bad, but I think you appreciate them a little more when things are going bad. I couldn’t tell her my every anxious thought. I couldn’t ask her to go to dinner with me. Instead, I had to deal with these things alone. This was the first time in a long time that I had to face myself. College has been a series of masking feelings with other activities and feelings. You never really get to bask in the sadness, because there’s always something else there waiting to accompany it. I also use this to explain my inability to write.

This is the first article that I will be publishing in months. It’s the first piece of writing that has ever come to me naturally in I don’t know how long. So today I learned a lesson. I learned how to be alone. I learned how to sit there for twenty minutes panicking about why a boy didn’t snapchat me. I learned how to think for myself and take care of my responsibilities without anyone there to talk me through it. This was not without a fight, of course. Before I decided to trek to dinner alone, I texted four people, who all happened to be “adulting” quite well at their jobs. Before I decided to sit down and write, I visited three other rooms, hoping to find the distraction I needed. I contemplated exercising, playing softball, and going back to sleep before ultimately declaring independence champion and growing some self-fulfillment. So, today, I finally wrote. I made it to all my classes, I got my homework done, and I even made it to lunch and dinner. All on my own. (with God’s help, of course). Today, I challenge you to do this: try to be on your own for awhile. You may discover things about yourself that you didn’t even know existed. And in case you were wondering, that boy did snapchat me. :)

With love,


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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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