For anyone who has read my first article, My Unconventional College Career Taught Me It's OK To Do Things Differently, you already know that my college experience has been different from most people's. For anyone who hasn't read that article, to put it briefly, I left Towson after my first semester due to homesickness and not making any friends, and I returned a year and a half later after feeling I belonged here after all.
I was pretty upset about not making any friends my first semester. Everyone I knew who went away to college had a group of nine new best friends after two weeks; why hadn't that happened to me? Was I not being friendly enough? Was I weird and no one wanted to be friends with me? What was wrong with me?
After fifteen weeks of loneliness, I went back home. The thing is, I didn't make any friends at my community college, either, but that didn't bother me. Sure, I had my boyfriend and my family at home, but none of my high school friends were around to hang out with and I didn't make any attempts to make new friends at my community college.
Something I've learned about myself since that first lonely semester is that I don't care to have a lot of friends.
The loneliness I felt my freshman semester wasn't for a lack of friends, specifically; it was more the feeling of isolation. It was the feeling that even if I wanted to make friends, I couldn't (whether that's true or not I don't know, I probably could've tried harder). It was being away from everything I knew to be home that was causing my loneliness, not the fact that I didn't have any friends.
As a person, I'm pretty friendly, and I'm not exactly shy. Working in customer service for years will certainly beat the shyness out of you and force the friendliness into you. I can hold a conversation with strangers, and I'm comfortable with inviting classmates to study. What I'm saying is, I have pretty normal social skills and I'm generally good with people.
It's just that I don't like them.
Most people exhaust me. I always thought I was just lazy or not getting enough sleep, but the tiredness I feel after coming home from a day on campus isn't for a lack of sleep, it's the exhaustion of being around people all day. Of being in a crowd. Of hearing other people, seeing other people... Even if I do 0 socializing throughout the entire day, which is the way I prefer my days to go, being around people is tiring.
This doesn't apply to being around family, or the few friends I've cared to maintain relationships with. This applies to pretty much everyone else.
So, going back to the idea of not making any friends in college: this is exactly how I want things to be. The process of making new friends is even more stressful than just spending a day on campus. I have to retell all of my stories, explain all of the people in my life, re-explain my views and how I see things, and at this point, that investment doesn't seem worth it. In a few short years, we'll be going our separate ways. Trying to make friends is so draining to me, I usually just don't do it. I would rather keep to myself.
I cherish my alone time.
I love being able to go back to my apartment at the end of the day and sit in my room by myself. I like doing what I want to do every day, not worrying about meeting up with friends, texting 10 people back, or having any social obligations to honor. I just don't want to be bothered. I need that alone time every day to recharge after a long day of being exposed to too many people.
A lot of college graduates say the best things they get out of college are their friendships, but I am so content keeping to myself. I have a few good friends, most of which I met in high school when I had a little more energy for other people, and my wonderful roommate. The friends I do have are what I call "low maintenance," as in, we don't have to talk every day to know we're still friends. They know I love them and I'm always here for them, and I know they love me and they're always there for me, but we don't talk unless we have to. That doesn't mean we aren't friends, it means we're people with our own lives who talk when we need to talk.
I should add that despite my love for being alone, I'm not against making new friends. Every once in a while I'll meet someone who I actually want to put that effort into. My overall point is that I prefer to be alone, and the fact that I haven't made many friends since I started college doesn't bother me.
Still, I love my family and my friends. The people who I really enjoy are like breaths of fresh air, whereas being surrounded by thousands of other students on campus every day is like being lost in a fog.
I am perfectly fine with having few friends and spending most of my time in solitude.