No one seems to tell you that when you're in college, a lot of the time you have free is spent by yourself.
It is a universally acknowledged truth that freshman year of college is a big adjustment. Some will overlook the struggles and focus on the good, while others may be deterred by all of the changes. Essentially, it depends on the person and their situation. However, every person who goes through freshman year could pretty much agree that one of the biggest adjustments is the time, or lack thereof, spent with other people.
It was something that was extremely difficult for myself to accept. No one seems to tell you that when you're in college, a lot of the time you have free is spent by yourself. It's not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, for some, this might be great news. But if you're anything like me, this fact might throw you for a loop.
My whole life, I was surrounded by people. When I was home, I was with my parents and my siblings. When I was at school, there wasn't a single class where I was without a friend or an acquaintance. I hardly ever ate by myself, if there was a test, I'd study with someone, and I'd hang out with my friends after school in my free time.
In college, however, this is all different. Everyone runs on completely different schedules, so finding time to eat together or hang out is pretty rare. Studying for the same exam or having the same class is also quite the rarity, so that is hard as well.
Thus, in my first semester, I was rattled by this newfound loneliness. I felt as though something was wrong with me. Sure, I might have had friends, but the majority of the day was spent doing my own thing. What was I doing incorrectly?
It wasn't until I talked with an upperclassman that I learned that everyone goes through this awkward transition of self-doubt and that this is just one of the many adjustments from high school to college.
This reassurance helped, but how could I learn to fully accept myself as my own company, when I had gone my whole life constantly surrounded by people?
Time management can aid this feeling greatly. By mapping out my day in terms of meals, classes, studying, clubs/activities, and social events, it was easier for me to see how and why I was spending time alone, and how I wasn't actually alone, despite my nagging anxiety telling me otherwise.
I also invested my painstaking free time in other activities. From something as small as starting a new show on Netflix (I highly recommend "The Umbrella Academy"!) to something as big as joining a sorority, filling the gaps in my schedule with fun things to do helped relieve my anxious mind.
But all in all, it taught me an important lesson of learning to love myself a little more. At the end of the day, the only person who knows you best is you. Get to know yourself! Do things that you like, and use the time to relax with your mind and body.