Zoe Denton is an English sophomore and the views expressed in this piece don’t necessarily reflect those of Mustang News.

You’re sitting in your dorm, apartment, house or wherever, desperately needing some alone time to rest or unpack the week. Even the most energetic extroverts need time to themselves every once in a while.

But there are people having fun outside or on your phone and that one really annoying part of your brain can’t help but want to be there. It chastises you for staying in and “being boring.” –– we’ve all been there.

A lot of people are trying to strike a balance between wanting to gain independence but not wanting to be alone or experience college by themselves.

After a year and a half of having so few in-person activities, meeting new people can feel like an overwhelming leap of faith. There’s a lot of pressure to have fun and appreciate what we missed. While I am so grateful to be on campus living with some amazing roommates, it can be really difficult to just exist sometimes. 

Some find this new sense of independence thrilling while others think it is the scariest thing in the world. But for the most of us, it is a mix of these two. We are constantly going back and forth between hating being by ourselves and desperately wanting to see who we are when no one else is around. 

“Make college the most exciting time of your life:” these words have been echoed throughout our lives by parents, older siblings and mentors. Even movies like “Neighbors,” “Animal House” and “Pitch Perfect” glorify college in a way that makes students feel like the insane, perfectly crafted, director-made parties are something they should be experiencing weekly.

That is just not realistic, and if you’ve ever been to a frat party here, you know what I’m talking about. 

In case you haven’t heard this enough recently, no one –– and I mean no one –– is having fun all the time. People that I viewed as having the most interesting, fun-filled lives on social media have said to me that they feel like they are missing out all the time.

By focusing too much on what ‘should’ make us happy, I think a lot of people are missing the point. It’s okay if you don’t enjoy the traditional college hobbies and it’s okay if you don’t even know what you do enjoy yet. Maybe frat parties aren’t your thing but all your friends love them.

Don’t go and maybe try something else? 

That decision can be terrifying, but let’s be honest — in your first year of college and maybe even in your second you are going to be lonely. So you might as well be lonely and trying to get into things you do like than lonely and trying to fit in in places that aren’t meant for you. 

So why not try out the craft center, the climbing wall or intramural sports. There are some great opportunities here in San Luis Obispo, such as the hiking club, the speech and debate team or even a part-time job.

Loneliness is inevitable, but every one of us has experienced this and we will probably experience it again in the future. However, being alone does not have to be a bad or scary thing. Instead you can turn those feelings into a way to venture outside your comfort zone and embrace yourself in whatever form that takes. 

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