Picture this: it’s a Friday night and all your friends are planning to go out and head to the nearest party. But, no matter who you’re with, where you’re going, or what you’re wearing, you can’t begin to even muster up the desire to go with them. In the “real-world,” this doesn’t seem like the biggest problem. You’ll have to imagine this in a world where heading to fraternity parties, bars, and clubs are the main points of weekend evening interactions. When I started college, I thought that maybe my putting off of these events was due to my personal anxieties, which I had been known to have. I continually put off going out, and I didn’t even do it until the second semester of my freshman year. After going out of my personal comfort zone and going to a few parties here and there, I realized from my personal social experiment that going out didn’t make me anxious. I found that I simply didn’t like it and it wasn’t how I liked to spend my free time.
What do you do when you’re in the world of college and you hate going out? And, how do you even begin to feel at peace with that and feel secure in who you are? I wondered if there was even something wrong with the fact that I didn’t enjoy what most people did enjoy. I wondered how I could make the time pass. As a junior in college, I’ve made it to the point where I unapologetically know what I do and don’t like. I come home to myself happily and securely every single weekend evening without the green FOMO goblin standing in my way.
But it wasn’t that easy at first. I definitely didn’t feel confident in my feelings towards not liking to go out right away.
What’s crazy is that in my first year and a part of my second year of college, there were moments when I would hope and wish for the weekend to go by faster. I know, crazy, but it’s confusing when you are a square, extroverted-introvert. My idea of fun didn’t and still doesn’t fit into that round peg that is the college bubble. In a lot of my women’s studies classes, we discuss the idea that the hetero-patriarchy has become so innate and reinforced that everyone begins to see it as normal.
I feel the exact way about party culture in college. It’s what everyone is doing and talking about, and what pop-culture is portraying—so it’s starting to come across as normal.
One of my biggest insecurities developed when I got into small talk with my peers and was asked, “What are you doing this weekend?” And frankly, sometimes I really didn’t know. My mind would be spinning trying to either come up with something vague or something incredibly detailed just to deflect the question altogether. It was daunting because I didn’t have a plan. With my personality type, I love creating structured plans in regards to my work and academia and keep everything spur of the moment with the time to myself.
Now, let’s be real here. I have had moments where I have told people I’m staying in and in return have gotten the look. Do you know what I’m talking about? The look of “Why aren’t you going out? What’s wrong with you?” type of look. I’ve gotten it so much in fact, that I realized that I needed to just throw myself into who I was. I needed to come home to myself and be forward with others. I’m 20 years old, I’m in college, and I hate going out. I wanted to get to a point where that insecurity wouldn’t even phase me anymore. It was a task to myself to find fun ways to enjoy my weekend without feeling bad about who I am. I hated feeling insecure and sad and unsure when the weekends came around. I knew that getting over that insecurity and attempting to break the college stereotypes started with me, and learning how to be mentally strong.
It didn’t happen overnight, but soon I figured out a schedule that worked for me—which was making all my social plans to spend time with my friends and club members during the school week and spending my weekends doing homework and going to the gym. I began to acknowledge that weekends were and still are my time to be introverted and engage in rituals to take care of myself. I even subscribed to the newsletter called Girls’ Night In, which harbors a community of women who love to dislike going out. Of course, if plans arise with friends I let them happen. But, in the event that I don’t have people to spend time within the evening, I have a game plan of exactly what to do that works for me.
In the book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, Amy Morin ends her book with the following:
“Developing mental strength means knowing that you’ll be okay no matter what happens…When you become mentally strong, you will be your best self, have the courage to do what’s right, and develop true comfort with who you are and what you are capable of achieving.” The idea is that if you learn to give yourself the tools to accept yourself in any circumstance and every capacity, you can handle any situation fearlessly.
Now, I spend my weekends doing whatever I want to do without worrying about what others will think. Sometimes, I still have to explain myself (which is insane). But when I do, I feel a new sense of pride and a new sense of confidence that I have never had before.
If you are in college and you don’t like drinking or going to parties, you are not alone. I see you, I hear you, and I support you.
Do you have an insecurity that you recently overcame? Let us know in the comments below! Be sure to apply to be a Community Member today.
Opening photo by @cassidiaah