Before studying abroad, I feared not befriending anyone or ending up alone. Excluded from conversations or hangouts. Only to end up alone in my room when I could’ve gone out by myself.
I’d be left with zero memories. Not ones I’d one to relive anyway.
Over the course of my study abroad, I’ve come to further learn how much I enjoy and need alone time. Knowing I could have the company of others and still enjoying that but dedicating time and space for myself. I came in knowing nobody so I needed to push myself to interact with others. But I also knew I’d have to be alone from time to time. After the program, I wouldn’t see most of these people either. I’d slowly enjoyed my present with and without them.
I started forcing myself to go out alone whether it was a café, park, or store. My own mind had made the situation seem 100x scarier. But I’d be journaling in the park or sitting in a cafe absolutely fine.
When I hung out with people, there were two things I kept in mind. Knowing who I genuinely like being around. The people who allow me to myself and don’t coerce me into things. The second thing is doing activities that they also enjoyed doing. I knew I didn’t need to always be alone and sometimes I really shouldn’t be.
Now I can’t say I don’t feel or haven’t felt isolated anymore. It’s a feeling that comes and goes. But it can be worked on.
Prior to this, I’ve carried that feeling with me. It didn’t go away. But I did feel it less intensely when I did feel it. I just find myself feeling it from time to time.