An introvert's guide to finding (& enjoying) alone time in college

Do you ever find yourself feeling irritable or annoyed if you don't get enough alone time?

Yeah. Me too.


I've been spending summers away from home for a long time (attend five or six week long ballet camps since age 15). The whole making-friends thing was always sort of hit or miss at these camps, because it was such a short time that you either found friends you didn't like (& tried to cling on to them so you weren't alone), or got lucky and found some people you loved.


The summer of 2015 I found some people I loved. They were my kind of people. We liked to spend our time in the same sort of ways, they were smart and thoughtful, and they made me laugh. But for some weird reason, I found myself getting really annoyed and irritable all the time. When we went out and did fun things (museums, movies, etc.) I always found myself wanting to be back in my room rather than enjoying my time with them. What the heck, right??

Well, here's what I've discovered:

I need alone time. 

 Even though I loved those friends, I was spending every second of my time with them (at ballet, in my dorm, hanging out). And every minute that I spent with them, we were talking, or going somewhere, or doing something. I had absolutely no time to myself, and because of that, I was getting really, really tired.

Flash forward a year, and I'm now at college! Once again, I have found people I really like! But also once again, I rarely have time alone. In college, you're constantly surrounded by other people. You sleep in the same room as someone, you usually eat your meals with friends, you are in classes with friends, you may even study with friends. And for me, I knew I was going to have to find ways to get some alone time in each day, or else I would go absolutely insane.



Anyways, sorry for the super-obnoxiously-long introduction. Here are my tips: 

 Wear headphones 

Wearing headphones is a great way to shut yourself off from the world for a little while. They create the feeling of being alone, even when you aren't. It's sort of a hard experience to put into words, but wearing headphones helps me feel sort of small, sort of inside-of-myself, and 100% occupied by my own mind. Wear them while you're walking around (if you're alone), studying, chilling in your dorm, etc. Listen to music or don't. Nobody will know.
Bonus: Headphones are sort of a universal signal for "don't talk to me" if you're in that sort of mood. Just don't wear them, like, when you're eating dinner with a bunch of your friends. That would be rude. ;) 

Don't feel pressured to always walk with other people 

It always sort of baffles me how some people can feel so uncomfortable being alone. At the beginning of college, it seemed like everybody was terrified of being alone. They'd set times to go to meals together, set times to walk to class together (even though it's literally three minutes from the dorm), and even meet up to do laundry. I totally understand (and agree with) wanting someone to walk with if it's dark or you feel unsafe. But otherwise, I've found that the three-or-so minute walk from the dorm to class is kind of enjoyable. Also, I really like putting headphones in and playing music as I walk. It makes me feel like I have a soundtrack to my life.

 

Study by yourself

You've probably heard this before, but finding a special spot to study (away from people, away from distractions, somewhere air-conditioned) is not only effective, but also pretty enjoyable if you find yourself needing time alone. In a weird way, I kind of like studying in the library by myself. Not the studying part, I mean. Although my classes have been more fun than expected.

Don't feel obligated to talk to your roommate all the time 

Forgive me if this tip sounds too anti-social. Sometimes I can't tell. But also hear me out.
Of course you should spend time with your roommate, get to know them, and encourage the possibility of a friendship. This all starts from talking. But adversely, if I'm living with someone all the time, I would not be able to survive with the obligation to make small talk with them constantly. If you're an introvert, don't feel obligated to talk to your roommate all the time. But remember to smile and say "hi" when you enter the room and generally be a pleasant human being. If you're living with an introvert roommate, don't be offended if they don't talk sometimes. It probably doesn't mean they hate you. They're probably just occupied with their own little world.

 

Know your roommate's schedule 

If you ever want some time alone without, like, random library-dwellers nearby (aka, time alone in your room), it may be helpful to get an idea for your roommate's schedule. What times does she have classes? When does she often go to the library, etc? When does she have club or sports meetings? That way, you'll know your window for if you ever want to, like, meditate on your bed with zero chance of distraction. For me, I use this time to take over our floor in front of the window, and take blog photos. (The blogging-in-college struggle is real.)

Make a "bubble" space 

When I talk about wanting "alone time" that doesn't mean I hate other humans and don't want them around. Other humans are great. The way I think of it, alone time is necessarily not just because of the lack of people, but because it allows me to spend time in "my own world." And that's hard to do when you feel like you're in the middle of everyone and everything. But even if you aren't completely 100% alone, there are still ways to cozy up in your own world. For me, my bed is my bubble. I'm on the top bunk, so it's kind of like a whole separate room up there (a room with a big crack that your phone can fall through and land on your roommate while sleeping. It has happened). I have a little bulletin board with decorations, a hanging bag that holds my headphones, journal, glasses, gum, general goodies, etc. I even have a little fan taped to the bed frame. It's so great. It's like the tree house I've always wanted, but considerably smaller. I highly suggest finding a bubble/ tree house space for yourself. Whether it's your desk, or your bed, or a secret study spot in the library. Find a little space that feels cozy, quiet, and yours. Find a place where you can be completely at ease

 

Work out alone 

As much as I love the many free workout classes available in college, there are few things as therapeutic as working out alone. With headphones in, probably. Doing repetitive tasks (such as, like, running) are great ways to clear your head & calm yourself, and exercising itself is also really great for overall health and productivity (it's hard to do homework when you're antsy).

 

And now a word on enjoying alone time:

So yeah, it's college, and there's this pressure to constantly be doing something super-duper fun. Something instagram-worthy. Something really, really cool.
But there is coolness in being a homebody, too. Seriously. A different kind of coolness, and sometimes a kind that attracts different kinds of people, but it is there nonetheless. (I wrote a blog about this a while back.)
If you ever feel weird, or lame, or embarrassed about spending time alone, remember this:
Making time for yourself isn't just a personal preference, it's also part of your mental health. And everybody does it in different ways; some alone, some by ranting to friends, some by reading a book, some by walking across campus with headphones in. Any and every choice is a perfectly valid one. Which choice you make doesn't actually matter. What matters is if you take the time to care for yourself and actually do it. :)

How do you make time for yourself? Does it involve alone time? Let me know!

♡ Julia 
Follow me on Pinterest, Bloglovin, or Instagram! If you're a friend or fellow blogger I'd love to follow you back!

 






35 comments

  1. I'm not really an introvert (though not completely an extrovert either) but I totally get why you need alone time. Sometimes you can't even hear your thoughts and everyone needs time to reflect every once in a while. Great tips!

    waltzandwillow.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true! I think everyone needs alone time no matter who they are, probably just in different degrees. Thanks so much for reading, Elizabeth!

      Delete
  2. I can totally relate to you on this, I love socializing but a lot of time I prefer to be alone too. Things worked out great for my husband and me because even though he works from home, he has his office space upstairs while I am usually downstairs so we have our own space. These are really great tips, Julia and seems like you've nailed it down on how to get your alone time.

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Shireen! I'm glad you've figured out how to get alone time while working from home.
      And yea, I think I have sorta nailed it down, ahhaa!

      Delete
  3. I find it really hard to balance my alone time with my social life. If I stay out all day working or studying I NEED some alone time. Sometimes I feel like people suck up all my energy and I get home dried up.
    But I totally get what you are saying and I don't feel like needing some time alone means you're anti-social. Really liked this post! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally agree! Yeah I don't think it means you're anti social, just introverted.
      Thanks so much, Michele :)

      Delete
  4. Such a lovely post! I'm so glad I discovered your blog xx

    Blessings,
    Edye | Http://gracefulcoffee.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great post! Very inspiring!
    I love your blog!
    www.recklessdiary.ru

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is very inspiring me! I'm not sure if I am actually introverted or not. but I'm somewhat of an introvert, and I very much need my alone time.

    would you like to follow each other on google friend connect and google plus? If you follow me,
    I will follow you back. ^^
    www.tomntins.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw I'm glad it inspired you! Yeah, I think most all people need alone time to certain degrees, so this probably can be somewhat relatable to everyone!
      Checking out your blog now! :D

      Delete
  7. Amazing post! ♥

    www.byanyarich.de

    ReplyDelete
  8. Having some me time to recharge is key for me, too! :)

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it's pretty common! Thanks for reading, Ashley!!

      Delete
  9. I love having a me time to relax and feel better.
    I love this post.
    Have a lovely day doll,
    Johanna ❤

    http://www.dreamscolorsandglitter.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally agree!
      Aw thanks so much Johanna, I hope you have a nice day too :)

      Delete
  10. I totally feel you on this one, luckily at Uni I'll have my own room but I recently got a guide from my new Uni about starting out and it all included walking to class with people and finding people to do this that and the other with like what is wrong with doing things by yourself? <3

    The Quirky Queer

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally agree! I mean I can really understand the stress of trying to make friends in college (I was worried about that too) but to say that you should be with other people all the time is just ridiculous. Being alone rocks. Thanks so much, Izzy!

      Delete
  11. LOVE THIS! I've always been a believer in alone time, even back in college. And sometimes it would be weird when I knew my other friends were always spending time together, but I swear in the long run it paid off to be ok being alone. I now travel by myself and love it! It's so important to be independent even if it is just a couple quick moments out of the day. xo

    Kelsey | www.abalancingpeach.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's awesome! Traveling alone sounds great. Yeah, it can be tough because you get this feeling that people are constantly hanging out without you, especially in college. But you've just got to recognize that alone time is important for you! Thanks so much for reading, Kelsey!

      Delete
  12. I have always loved the time I spend by myself, I am really lucky enough of going to college in the same city that I live, so I can stay home, but sometimes I have to spend all day at college and I get tired of people easily, especially because I am an only child and I've always had time for myself. I do most of the things on the list, I love going for walks by myself around the campus or just going to the library alone between classes to read when I am kind of tired of having human contact, haha. I love people who appreciate being alone, I think it is really healthy to spend time with ourselves so we can think, figure out stuff or just to relax, being with people all the time is really overrated. You seem to be nailing the art of 'colleging' really fast! I was clueless when I started! Keep the good job, Julia, you are doing amazing <3

    Cy | Dulce de Mango

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha aww thanks, Cy! I'm doing my best. And yeah, I completely agree! Alone time is def a healthy thing. Thanks fof reading, girl :D

      Delete
  13. This is so interesting! I also need alone time... and I think the reason it worked out is because my roommate was back to her hometown during the weekends :)
    xoxo

    Ileana

    Novelstyle Blog

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahah that must have been nice! Yeah it's always good to find some time where you can be in your room alone, I think. Thanks for reading, Ileana!

      Delete
  14. Yes, me too! I really need some time alone, some time to give attention to myself and take care of me, otherwise, it's starting the caos! Have a nice week!

    https://letrendycharm.blogspot.pt/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I def agree! Thanks for reading, Diana!!

      Delete
  15. I'm an introvert myself and I can't help but nod to all of these. Alone time is so important.

    annescribblesanddoodles.blogspot.com | Bloglovin' | Instagram

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you can relate! And yes it definitely is :)

      Delete
  16. These are really great tips! I know I personally felt the pressure in college to ALWAYS be with someone. It bothered me too how, especially girls, never felt like they could do something alone. It was crazy! To this day I still prefer my alone time and I love it. I am an introvert/extrovert combo, I forget what it's called though. My favorites are working out alone and putting in headphones! I did that a lot in college. Working out was definitely my 'me' time I used to just be alone in my thoughts. :)

    -Emily www.coatandcoffee.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's great, I'm glad you've found your own "alone time!" And yeah, I totally agree. It's this weird stigma. Thanks for reading, Emily!!

      Delete
  17. I am such an introvert, and really struggled to get through university needing alone time, as it seemed like there was always someone around!
    These tips are definitely helpful, though, I wish I'd had this post a few years ago!

    francesca | francescasophia.co.uk xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally agree. Aw thanks so much, Francesca!

      Delete
  18. I can really relate, I've always needed alone time to recharge otherwise I become so...lets just say unpleasant to be around, haha

    Back when I was at university I used to always spend my time between classes on my own studying or watching something with headphones on my laptop and then by the time I had a class I was ready to be social!

    www.thesundaymode.com

    ReplyDelete