JUAN: Alone time is something that everyone should cherish
Opinions Column: Come With Lee
The thought of doing things by yourself may seem frightening. It seems that wherever you go, you are constantly surrounded by groups of people enjoying activities together. Whether it's eating at the dining hall or going to a fitness class at the gym, many people are always in groups or pairs. But what happens when you have to do things by yourself? I know there has been plenty of times when I’ve wanted to go to an event on campus but had no one to go with, and ended up not going. The feeling of being alone while everyone seems to have someone to do activities with isn’t the best, but it shouldn’t be something that stops us from doing what we want to do. It has definitely stopped me from going to events or doing activities in the past, but I have now realized how much better life is when I stopped being afraid of doing things on my own. Being solo shouldn’t stop you.
Being part of a community where there are constantly events being held, I get excited for new things to do. Ranging from breaking the world record for jumping jacks to seasonal activities such as pumpkin painting, there’s always something new. While I get excited to do all these activities, my friends may not have the time or interest in doing them with me. Like many people, having to do things alone has stopped me in going. We may not realize it, but there is a common reason that many of us decide not to do things by ourselves, even if we want to go. A main reason that people decide to skip activities just because they would have to do it alone is the thought of being judged by others. We are so afraid of what others will think of us when we are seen by ourselves. There is this fear that because we are alone, we are somehow anti-social or hard to get along with, when that isn’t the case. It isn’t necessary to have these thoughts, especially since whenever I see people out doing things alone, I don’t automatically assume that they are odd or loners. Chances are, no one is thinking that about you.
Worrying about what people think of you when you are out alone is all in your head. There is nothing wrong with going out alone and these thoughts don’t do us any good. In a study done with college students, both individuals and groups of students were asked to go to an art gallery and predict how much fun they were going to have. Majority of the solo students predicted much lower levels of satisfaction, yet they ended up having as much fun as those in groups. It was concluded that these solo students predicted, that due to their fear of others thinking that they had no friends, they thought they weren’t going to enjoy the gallery. In reality, they ended up having as much fun as everyone else. Being alone does not mean that you can’t enjoy something. That irrational fear of what others may think goes away when you are enjoying something.
When we hear about events or activities that we want to do, we get excited because we want to do them. Why stop ourselves from doing something that will make us happy just because there is no one there to share that experience with you? People assume that just because they have to go out alone, they aren’t going to have fun. The thing is, you will be happier going out and doing whatever it is you want to do instead of sitting around, wishing you were there. When I first started attending Rutgers, I was happy that there were group fitness classes. My favorite class is Zumba, and I would never go unless my roommate went with me. Zumba is an activity that I love going to, and I now realize that it still makes me happy even when I go by myself. Don’t deprive yourself of things that you love.
Time alone is something we all need, even if we don’t realize that. Going out by yourself is a great opportunity for us to be alone with our own thoughts, and lets us cleanse our minds. There is no one there to influence how we are thinking or how we act. We can just enjoy what is around us. We can do whatever we want when we’re alone. We don’t have to worry about what the other person wants to do or if you’re entertaining them. Like they say: you are your own best company.
Leona Juan is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in journalism and media studies. Her column, “Come with Lee” runs on alternate Thursdays.
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