University is intense, there’s no denying that. It is full of socialising, events and studying. Sometimes it can get a bit overwhelming and that is perfectly normal. Living in a flat of 4-8 people means that you often are in the company of at least one other person all the time.
There can also be pressure from others to always be in someone’s company – their Snapchat stories always seem to suggest that they’re having the time of their life with their friends while you’re stuck at home. So, you force yourself to be in other people’s company.
The trick to happiness, my friend, is learning when to say no. You need to be comfortable in your own presence before you can truly enjoy being in the company of others.
You may even think that being by yourself is scary, but this is something you need to overcome. It is surprisingly easy when you try and I know from experience. In first year, I was very caught up in always being in someone’s company and it drained me. Being an only child means that I have always been used to my own company, so university was a shock to the system, and I was catapulted into a social world I had never experienced before.
The trick of enjoying your own company is simple:
- If you find being in your own company hard, do short amounts of time every day until you can build up to an hour or two.
- Find a hobby you like – be that drawing or painting, listening to music, reading or even creating music.
- Don’t be scared- often the reason people can’t be by themselves is because of the things that start going on in their mind when they are not distracted. Whatever it is that is stressing you out, breathe deeply and maybe try writing out everything that stresses you out. This makes it easy to visualise your stress and understand that it is not as bad as you may think. The university also has counselling services so if there is anything pressing on you make sure you utilise the services at hand.
- Social Media is not a true representation of people’s lives – people only post social media stories when they’re with people, that doesn’t mean that they always are. They may seem to post everyday but hey, they may have seen that person for no more than half an hour. Everyone’s lives are different and feeling FOMO (fear of missing out) is perfectly natural. You just have to understand the baseless anxiety that is derived from it, once you get your head around this you can see social media for what it is. Hopefully doing this will remove the anxiety you get from thinking that everyone is having fun without you.
- Close your door – this means that flat/house mates are less likely to barge into your room and disrupt your peace. The physical act of shutting your door also helps to create a sense of solitude, cut off from the distractions of life.
- Turn off your phone – in this day and age modern technology makes it nearly impossible to be truly alone. The pinging of your phone distracts and intrudes on your mind all day. Turning it off for a short amount of time every day allows your brain a little down time, enough to recuperate.
Science has proven that spending time alone allows you to unwind and relax, something very important to cope with the stresses of University. It is also said to help boost creativity and productivity, which can only be a good thing for students. Not only this, but solitude also promotes deep thinking and improved social relationships.
So, even if you’re a social butterfly, learn to pause and enjoy your own company. Take time to yourself and appreciate yourself. It will be worth it, I promise.