Magdalene: Relearning to Love Being Alone

As someone who had always considered herself an independent person growing up, I’ve been surprised at the discontentment I’ve felt being alone as of late. I think these uneasy feelings are a byproduct of my experience attending a school with fewer than 2,000 students prior to transferring to BU. I’d always felt like I was under a microscope there – the smallness made me feel uncomfortable with the public displays of solitude that I had cherished previously. Going to meals at my other school was an event. It felt almost mandatory to go with friends or else you’d be considered strange or people would cast pity looks at you.

Now having had around a semester and a half here, I think BU (and Boston as a whole) offers fertile terrain for getting back to being comfortable with being alone. The sheer size of this school offers a certain sense of anonymity. When I leave my apartment it’s refreshing to acknowledge to myself that the people I see outside may or may not be affiliated with BU. Alright, so I’m not expert but here are some tips to feel more comfortable being “seul” (alone) by me, Magdalene Soule:

1) Walk down Comm. Ave. with no music

Gasp. I know. But hear me out…This might feel quite awkward seeing as I’ve noticed the vast majority of people listen to music walking between classes. In addition to the enjoyment of listening to music and the reprieve it allows one from the academic world, it’s also a safety net. Try doing it a couple times. Look up and observe and really be present in the hustle and bustle.

2) Take yourself on a coffee date

Some people have absolutely zero issue doing this. But often people who are alone at coffee shops have something to occupy them – whether it be work or a newspaper. As a student myself, I think starting small is good. Bring your work to a local café like Pavement, Café Landwer, or Tatte. Once you’re feeling more comfortable with that, try going alone without any explicit work.

3) Take yourself on a museum or movie date

Here in Boston we are fortunate enough to have many museums that are quite accessible. Also, if you show your BU ID, you can get into places like the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art for free (and other arts institutions like Boston Symphony Hall for a reduced rate). Going to the movies alone can feel especially daunting, but it’s super empowering. You don’t have to have a date (friend or romantic) to enjoy a film in solitude.

4) Go to a sit-down restaurant

Don’t sit at the bar. Ask for a small table and order something off the full menu! I know that’s a terrifying thought. If you don’t want to spend money going out to eat, go to one of the many dining halls here and eat by yourself.

5) Cry in public

I’m not joking. Okay, please don’t force yourself into crying, but also don’t repress your emotions if you’re feeling something very intensely and you’re in public. I know this might seem bizarre, but don’t hold things in! Also, I want to make it very clear that I’m not advocating for you to go through whatever you’re going through alone. There are so many resources here at BU. I will link them at the bottom of this post. Be okay with not being okay and live your life out loud. Just know there are always people around to support you.

What do you think of these tips? Do you have any suggestions? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Resources at BU:  

http://www.bu.edu/shs/behavioral-medicine/behavioral-resources/

http://www.bu.edu/shs/sarp/

http://www.bu.edu/scnc/all-services/

http://www.bu.edu/ombuds/

http://www.bu.edu/shs/wellness/general-health-programs/wellness-program-kits/