by Tillie Lam, Staff Writer

Now that the Freshers carnivals and partying are over, the campus is once again bustling with students working hard for their degrees. So dear all freshers, how are you doing? 

Has your sleeping schedule got worse due to all the readings and assignments? Have you been polishing your cooking skills in the kitchen? Have you got to know anyone other than your flatmates yet?

Being asked numerous questions at once does sound overwhelming, but some may also find the same overwhelmingness creeping in as they panic on knowing barely anyone in uni yet. No, I am not trying to enforce the idea of branching out to build rapport; as an introvert myself, I can assure being alone is not really that terrible. In fact I enjoy the freedom and self-autonomy that comes along with being a university student. It is not just about exercising self-discipline, planning your schedules and practising budgeting; it is about learning more of yourself and your surroundings, while challenging and becoming a better self.

Recently, I went hiking up a hill for some sunlight – which as someone who has lived in cities for years was really a first for me. Sometimes I just put my studies  away for a while, grab my camera, head to Brighton town centre, find my way around and brush up my street photography skills. Figuring out how Brighton buses works when I first arrived in Sussex; going on solo grocery shopping with a bonus workout; participating in online talks and workshops run by Skills Hub, Careers Hub and Startup Lab (disclaimer: I am not sponsored by any of them); finding pleasure in doing meal preparation; brainstorming on future plans and projects, as sometimes it is better to prepare and plan early; or just simply sit down, running through your train of thoughts; are just some of the many ways on how I spend my ‘me time’.

The idea of being a ‘loner’ is not about being left out by everyone else. It is a personal preference which you choose to get along with yourself. It gives you time to enrich and get yourself equipped with handy skills, and perhaps explore and get back in touch with your long-abandoned hobbies and interests. If you have any ongoing plans and projects, being alone also allows you time to reflect on your progress, or maybe alter some details for the big picture. Most importantly, it gives you space to unwind your swamping thoughts and find your inner peace from within, while giving yourself a break from all the intense socialising and ever-changing surroundings.

The next time you are alone because everyone else is busy,  and you do not want to bury yourself in textbooks and recordings, go and make a cup of tea, let yourself space out for a while or just blast into your current jam. Remember, making time for yourself and your well-being from time to time never sounds selfish.

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