Living in a dorm can sometimes feel overwhelming. It’s not like living at home, where you can close your bedroom door and shut everything out for awhile. Instead, people are constantly around. Even extroverts or social butterflies can feel the crush after a while. Planning alone time is essential to maintaining good physical and mental health. Here’s why you should prioritize alone time in college and how you can make it happen.
Why Alone Time Matters
There’s a school of thought that says everyone falls into one of two classifications of personality: introverts and extroverts. Introverts are usually more withdrawn and give energy to people around them. They often come off as “shy,” not because they don’t know how to socialize, but because they prize special relationships with those they know and love. After being with people for a long period of time or being around high energy events, introverts need quiet, alone time to “recharge” their social batteries.
On the other hand, extroverts soak up energy. They love being around others, and they feel more powerful when they can talk or explore with people. Some more reserved extroverts do best around friends; others can strike up a conversation with anyone. However, even extroverts still need solitary time to come down from that energy high.
No matter what category you feel you fall into, alone time can also be great for focusing on your studies, thinking through a challenging situation, or just getting in some meditation!
Tips on Finding Quiet Spaces
First, know that alone time doesn’t have to be sitting in a dark room with the TV off. Productive alone time can be simply getting to Netflix your favorite show and binge on some healthy snacks. Alone time can be going to the gym with your headphones in and your mind focused on a new speed record. Even a private lunch in your school’s garden can be quality time.
If your friends are interrupting these favorite solo activities, don’t be afraid to plan a day off or to ask for some space politely. Roommates can set up schedules where they know when the other is in class or out of town so they can plan their alone time without interruption.
If you’re in need of a low-sensory or distraction free zone, try your library. For larger schools, specialized libraries (such as engineering or music libraries), can be great places to beat the crowds. They often provide quiet study rooms or individual areas for you to relax. Other options include health centers where more schools are setting aside nap or meditation spaces open for students to use as needed. If there’s none on campus, ask your student life director to designate a space for students like you!
Finally, don’t be afraid to get away too. A drive, if you’ve got a car, can be therapeutic. A trip on the bus or train to a quiet museum or a day on the beach can totally restore you. Splurge on alone time to help you feel at your best.