As I’ve alluded to many times in the past few weeks, as an introvert I need solitude and “me” time to recharge and really feel like myself. And as I’ve mentioned again and again, finding and making time for yourself in college — a bustling place where it’s sort of impossible to ever be truly alone — can be a challenge. Especially with the jam-packed, ridiculously busy schedule with which so many Tufts students seem to find themselves But that doesn’t mean that solitude is impossible; it’s just a matter of having time alone while still being around people. Even with crazy busy weeks, there are little things that I do to help my introverted batteries recharge.
Eating breakfast alone. While the thought of eating a meal alone in a dining hall might not be the most pleasant one, I love eating breakfast alone. I get up pretty early and am in Carmichael Dining Center by 8:30 a.m., so it’s usually pretty empty. I get to sit and eat in the relative silence of the early morning dining hall, drink my coffee and, by the time I leave, I’m ready for what the day might throw at me. Getting some “me” time early in the day helps me feel energized and ready for anything, from bustling group activities to camping out in the basement level of Tisch.
Headphones. If you’ve ever wanted to be alone in a crowded room, headphones are one way to do it. They’re a non-verbal cue to other people to let you be, to leave you to your podcast or music or whatever it is you’re listening to. Or not listening to. One of my friends at another college will sometimes just put earbuds in without listening to anything. Music and podcasts can also be calming, something to get lost in other than everything you need to do and places you need to go.
Be okay with veering off schedule. I love planning. Yes, I am one of those people who still has an agenda book and marks out what they’re doing and on what day they’re doing it. When I’m doing something with friends, I like to know what we’re doing and when we’re doing it (yes, I know, one of those people). Plans are great, but sometimes they get in the way. Especially when you’re feeling particularly stressed out or drained, it can be good to veer off-schedule and do something for yourself. While I am not advocating not doing work, what I am saying is that sometimes, if you have the time to finish it the next day, you can push work to the next day. Sometimes an impromptu solo movie night on a Wednesday is just what you need, even if it means reading 80 pages the next day instead of 40. Taking care of yourself — whether you’re an introvert, extrovert or ambivert — is important. There’s nothing wrong with putting yourself and your mental sanity first.
Sometimes it’s the little things that can make the difference, that can take your internal battery from 50% and bring it closer to 90%.
For more, check out this short article about the ups and downs of being an introvert in college, the ways introverts are perceived and why that is.