Unibrows, Unicorn, Unicycle… University? All these words have one thing in common. It’s the delightful prefix UNI, which is a Latin word, and ironically… it means one. You’d expect then, that University, or college to Americans, would refer to a single person, a single entity, a single singularity in their complete singularness…wrong! College is one of the number one breeding grounds for masses of people – every race, every background, every language – they’re all there.
While that element may be charming, like peering into a kaleidoscope of humanity, as an introvert with Loner tendencies, I much prefer to watch from afar…very far. As an introvert in college, starting “college life” can be extremely daunting, anxiety provoking, and taxing to Loner sensibilities.
After finally deciding to give up the whole game I want to share some of my Loner-wisdom on how to navigate through the social tidal waves of this unnecessary evil. Seriously, as an introvert in college – if you’re mercifully given the option…why not just study online with a cup of home-brewed tea on one knee, a doughnut in the other, basking in the sweet serenity of silence? And tell me, why study at all?
What to do, Where to go
Get there really early or late
If you’re clever enough, book all your classes first thing, or last thing. That way you’ll shrewdly dodge all the buzz, commotion, and noise from the masses of people. The sense of stillness, silence, and solitude so sought for is worth it.
1. Obscure Buildings
Spatial sciences…disability services…central department of garden management…look for places that few people would dream of voluntarily visiting, let alone spending time outside of.
2. Loner Lairs
Think of occupations Loner’s are most attracted to, and steer your way towards those buildings. Of course, Loner’s can be found in any occupation, but a higher percentage can be found in jobs that deal with the inner world of the mind, or have nothing to do with people at all. Some examples are the psychology, information studies, science and IT departments.
3. Crannies, Nooks & Books
Go on an adventure around the campus…you may be surprised what your Loner-radar detects and stumbles upon. I’ve found many heavenly hidey-holes early in the morning. Some (though a trifle eccentric…), may include:
- under staircases
- under walkways
- incongruous grooves in walls
- inverted corners of buildings and gardens
Uni libraries can, strangely enough, be the biggest social hubs of all…but don’t despair. Explore each section and level. Usually there are “silent zones” or places to study enclosed in self-contained cubicles. If you desperately need serenity and anti-socialness, seek this safe haven out unrelentlessly. It’s worth it.
4. Ungregarious Gardens
Really, anything in the realm of nature will do…whether a garden, a park, or an oval. Nature just is, nature is naturally peaceful (disclaimer: although…gregarious groups may shatter the peace once they park their posteriors there). The key is to find an open expanse, openness usually equals vulnerability, many like to congregate in closed, tight places. Keep this in mind!
5. Scale the Heights
It’s likely that many buildings on the campus will have different levels with places to sit outside. Rarely do I see groups gather on the balconies of buildings. Find a place up high, it seems many people like feeling grounded – literally, so there’s a greater chance that you will find solitude. The ground provides a sense of safety.
What Not To Do and Where Not To Go
1. Lunch-time Lunacy
Midday. Avoid it. Unless of course you want to be trampled and swallowed alive… This is the worst time to have lunch, and in general, exist on campus.
2. Anti-Anti-social Abodes
Taverns, Cafeterias, bookshops…and the library. All monstrously major social hubs. Enough said.
3. Doomed Departments
As a rule, avoid buildings to do with business, journalism, teaching, engineering, and midwifery. Otherwise, put forethought into where you go by considering how extroverted the environment may be.
4. Look for Semi-circles
I’ve discovered a secret… the secret of the social semi-circle. Simple sociological observation reveals that many social groups form semi-circles…so it’s no wonder that they are attracted to them as well. Lookout for semi-circular seating arrangements and outdoor architectural design, and avoid them like the plague. There will be people flocking to them in no time, guaranteed.
As for involuntary interaction with fellow students, the ball, as they say, is really in your court. The best advice I can give for such unpredictable situations is:
- RETREAT, RETREAT! Scurry straight away to corners and the back seats of the room. This provides a place to observe but not be observed.
- Wholehearted Avoidance. Become absorbed in your work…if possible. If not, absorb yourself in another activity such as doodling pictures or sketching notes about something. Looking busy and being busy is the key.
- Sooky Look. People are naturally attracted to happy-go-lucky charismatics. When I want to be left alone my face naturally becomes stern and sullen. Your facial expression can become the 1# social repellent. Use it at will.
In the end, Lonerhood is not misanthrope, nor is it philanthropy. Being a loner is not a mindset; it’s a natural way of being. It’s in your nature, simply a part of you. Look after it.
Has this article helped you in any way? Tell me below in the comments section. Also, feel free to take our Loner Test.