Teenagers Need to Learn to be Alone: A Firsthand Experience with Independence

When brainstorming a topic for the week, I asked The Ubiquity’s editor-in-chief, Diego Caceres, what I should write about. He kindly allowed me to steal an idea that he’d been thinking about for a while, and that is, learning to be alone. He said, “Being alone is okay. You’re not lonely, just alone.” Immediately, I was drawn to this idea and decided I would push myself to be alone more often to describe the benefits properly. 

Now, I’m sitting in a Starbucks, completely alone, writing this paper. I feel fantastic! The past two weeks, I made it a goal to go somewhere after school, alone, and do some work. I know that I will implement this same idea into my everyday routine because I have never been so productive. Diego was right in the fact that I do not feel lonely. Loneliness can be startling, but being content with being alone can be empowering. 

I often see my family, friends, and peers turn down opportunities simply due to the fear of being alone. It’s understandable, as touched on before, being alone can be scary. The best advice I can give is to jump into it. Don’t wade in; you’ll never experience the rush of throwing yourself entirely in. Once you learn how to be alone, you’ll find yourself appreciating your time much more! Not only that, you will learn how to enjoy yourself and love the person that you are when no one is around. 

My experience with being alone the past two weeks has made me much more comfortable with the future. I no longer fear moving away or going to college as much as I had before. Earlier, the idea of growing up would paralyze me. Now, I know that I can not only survive being independent, but I can also thrive. 

Not only have I been physically alone more often, but I have also set a timer and cut down on my social media usage in order to be mentally alone as well. As you’ve probably heard a million times before, social media can have hazardous effects on your mental health. What is less talked about, however, is your overall productivity. Not only is social media a quick and accessible distraction from work, but the harmful effects it can have on your mental state can also allow for more procrastination. When you aren’t feeling happy, it is common to lose motivation to do things that are important to you, such as school or sports. By slowly limiting your media consumption, you can improve your productivity and lessen procrastination issues, which I would say the majority of students deal with. 

Post-distance learning life can be very difficult to jump back into. After spending an entire school year at home on devices, I can say that spending as much time as possible with nothing to distract me but my own thoughts has been beneficial. During the height of the pandemic, I found myself doing anything to distract from the hysteria around me. Now that the world is slowly moving on again, it is important to spend time with yourself and understand more of who you truly are, without outside influences. 

Being alone is certainly not the worst thing a person can experience. It’s the fear that comes with being alone that you must address. Why are we so afraid of ourselves? Why do we feel the need to fill in every gap in socialization with media consumption? Why is comfortable silence so rare? In order to appreciate being alone, you must learn how to appreciate yourself. Loneliness should not be anyone’s greatest fear.