This winter session, I was bored.
I’m sure all those who didn’t study abroad, take classes on campus, or work some exciting job felt the same way. In my case, I ended up staying on campus. Unlike most people here, I didn’t take any classes– I was only here to help a professor with research. A few times a week I would go into the lab for an hour or two and help out, but besides that, I had no obligations. This left me with an incredible amount of free time to explore activities I had never had time for before.
For once, I could do nothing without any consequences. It was something I had wanted all first semester, but by the time I got this huge chunk of time, I had no idea what to do with myself. I felt like I needed to keep myself occupied, but I didn’t know how. I didn’t want to relax, watch TV, or read, even though I dreamed of doing these things when I was previously very busy. Sitting in my room all alone made me feel antsy.
When I came to college, it was seemingly impossible to be bored. All of my free time was spent going to my friends’ rooms, eating in the dining hall, or socializing in the hallway. I’m sure a lot of other students who live in residence halls can relate. Being in such close quarters with people allows you to maximize your time with other people. This is great, but sometimes a little alone time is in order, no matter how extroverted you are. While my friends were either at home or taking classes, I decided that Winter Session would be the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time with myself.
Even though I found the first week or two excruciatingly boring, the rest of Winter Session I found myself enjoying doing the most ordinary things. I finished a book, cleaned out my email, crossed some movies off my lengthy movie list, and even learned a little French. I created a to-do list for myself everyday and forced myself to accomplish something. To my surprise, the time went faster and faster, and, soon enough, the new semester crept up on me.
From this little break, I learned a lot about myself and even made a decision to change my major. This kind of alone time–the kind where I had nothing to do and no one to see– forced me to relax and reevaluate things in a way I hadn’t done in ages. As much as I love being around other people, I realized that everyone needs alone time. There’s a certain kind of internal harmony you gain from spending a day–or even a couple hours– in quiet solitude. You hear your personal decision-guiding compass louder, and the chaos of the world becomes a little quieter. And, of course, when you return to spending time with everyone, it feels more refreshing than ever.
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