Sometimes I sit in crowded places and do nothing, feeling as though it is my duty to balance out the space — like my blank individual equals a room full of discussion.
It can be hard to escape the constant flow of people and conversation while living in a college environment. Upon reflecting on the start of the school year, I began to attribute most of its overwhelming quality with being surrounded 24/7 by others, especially after jumping from minimal human contact for the past few months into a swarm of unfamiliar faces and situations.
Too much of one thing can be a bad thing, though, and lately I have been finding myself running away from people toward my personal hideaway. It may sound elementary, and that is entirely correct. When escaping to secret places, my inner child and sense of adventure come back — two traits that I do not get to fully express while studying Medieval Renaissance history.
I am a firm believer that if you live somewhere for at least one year, it is your moral obligation to learn about your surroundings in an intimate manner and to dig your feet into the ground. Therefore, stumbling on a spot on or off campus that allows you to be comfortable on your own is a special and warm discovery. There is a blissful nature to isolation and sharing silent spots. Never claim to own the area, though, for it is a place where you are simply a friendly visitor. How lucky you are to be a guest.
Sitting in my spot (which will forever remain secret), I can finally breathe and allow myself to process all the stimuli from the week. I can be angry and frustrated without bothering to explain my thoughts to the world around me (an aspect of retreat that Emerson and Thoreau would agree on). Sitting away from ‘civilization’ allows for a necessary checkup on myself — making sure I do not lose my sense of self as life moves quickly.
When it is finally time to go back to the reality you have created, you are even more thankful and aware than before. It’s as if you are emerging from some sort of fairy otherworld, and the best part is that nobody knows. There is no need for any of us to relate that experience, because the memories are individually kept.
You have your entire life to spend talking to and meeting new people. There is no rush. Get comfortable and get to know your environment. Develop a secret crush and be awkward. Eventually you will grow apart from this place, but at least you can leave knowing that you were just enough for each other. Enjoy the company of your childish secret hideout. You will be surprised with what is only a midnight bike ride away.