Finding alone time to recharge can be an introverted college student’s biggest challenge in their undergraduate career. If you’re not in class, you’re attending your student organization’s meetings. If you’re not in a meeting, you’re collaborating with other members of your group to finish the task assigned to you. And if you’re not working on a project for a club, you’re in a study group.
If you live off campus, you may find it extraordinarily difficult to find alone time because the trip back home isn’t worth it in between classes. You’re stuck there until you finish your classes and student activities for the day. When you’re not at school, you might be working. At some point, you want to see your friends or significant other. In a society that caters to extraversion, how does the introverted college student find the alone time they not only want but need?
Finding Alone Time In College
The first step is accepting that you’re an introvert and you need time alone to recharge. During my first two years of college, it was hard for me to accept that I needed alone time, much less get enough of it. Because the world we live in glorifies extraverts, I thought I’d be doing college wrong if I took time for myself because I’m supposed to be socializing. I’m supposed to go out every night of the weekend. I’m supposed to enjoy being around people all hours of the day.
Because I never took any time to myself, I was completely drained. I’d run into people I knew on campus and could barely manage to say hello because I was so exhausted. I didn’t even have the energy to pretend like I had energy. After learning I am an introvert and INFJ personality type, I learned that it was ok to take time for myself. If you don’t want to go out Friday night, you don’t have to. If your friends ask you to hang out on a weeknight but you’re out of people energy for the day, you don’t have to. Accept that alone time is what recharges your batteries. Your alone time is your self-care. Alone time isn’t weird. It’s what allows you to think as brilliantly as you do!
To ensure you get the alone time you need, figure out how much time you think you need for yourself each day. Make sure it’s reasonable. Going to class, attending student club meetings, and working are unavoidable. Do you need a few hours consecutively to yourself or can you manage spurts of alone time? Once you have those answers, you can better plan for your alone time. Below are eight tips to help the introverted college student recharge.
Take breaks in between classes
I found my saving grace in taking advantage of breaks between classes. When you register for classes, try to leave room for breaks if you think you might benefit from them. During your breaks, you can enjoy a coffee by yourself at the coffee shop or hit the library. Most libraries have private study rooms that you can book in advance to work on homework and recharge your introvert batteries. If the library has too many people, there’s a good chance that your school’s theater is open. This is a great way to truly have alone time.
If you want to get those steps in for the day, take a walk around campus. While you’re taking a walk around campus, seek out solitary areas where you can read a book, play on your phone, or do homework. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, as long as you are taking time for yourself.
There is no shame in eating alone. No one is going to look at you weird for eating alone because they’ve probably done it before, too. Even just grabbing a small bite to eat in between classes can be refreshing and give you the boost of energy you need to focus in your next class. The cafeteria is emptier on Saturday and Sunday mornings. This is a great time to grab breakfast and spend some time alone before starting your day.
Ask your roommate about their schedule
If you want to spend time alone at home, ask your roommate about their schedule. Once you know your roommate’s schedule, you know what time you can head home to have absolute alone time.
Hang out in the laundry room
If you live on campus, hang out in the laundry room during the week. Most college students do laundry on weekends. If your roommate is in your dorm and you want to be alone, this is a good option during the week.
Save some alone time for yourself that doesn’t involve homework
Being alone is important for academic success. It’s difficult to do homework with friends because it’s easy to get distracted. However, make sure to set aside alone time for yourself that you aren’t using to do homework. Let your brain have a true break.
Unplug from technology
Not only is unplugging going to save your eyes some strain, it will give you a break from all forms of social interaction. Turn off your phone, laptop, and tablet. It doesn’t have to be for hours. Just twenty minutes of no social interaction can really benefit your introvert batteries.
Go to the gym alone
Contrary to college student popular belief, you can go to the gym alone! Put some headphones in and block out the rest of the world. Introverts need alone time to restore our energy. Exercise boosts your energy, especially in the long run (no pun intended). Working out also gives you the chance to have alone time. You can’t do any homework when you’re working out either so, it gives you time to sort out all those complex introvert thoughts for the day!
Visit a campus religious center
If you’re religious and want to be alone with your thoughts but don’t want to work out, head over to your campus religious center. They’re quiet, peaceful and open for the majority of the day so you can go early in the morning, midday, or at night.
Are you an introverted college student? What do you do to recharge?
(Want more information about your personality type? Take the TypeFinder Personality Test.)