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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Turn down for what?

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I found myself alone in my room on a Friday night. Outside, the bass line of some top 40s song shook my windowsill too much for my anxiety to subside. People around me were “turning up,” and I wasn’t a part of it. Cuddling up with Netflix, I was too content to leave my bed, yet deep inside, I felt a sense of guilt, a fear of missing out ; on the friendships I was supposed to make, on the parties happening out there. After all, weekend nights out are the epitome the college experience, aren’t they?

Having gone to boarding school for my past 4 years, I perfectly understand the pressure of being “social.” Of course, boarding school is an imperfect representation of college; less booze, more angsty teenagers impatient to gyrate crotches on a sweaty dance floor, and of course, more judgment. Yet, both boarding school and college boil down to the same concept; being surrounded for periods of time that are way too long by peers of the same age…sort of like a Lord of the Flies scenario, minus the bloodshed. However, while we grew out of the high school phase, what most people would refer to as “the dark ages,” our anxiety never really left us. Most of us have watched Mean Girls too many times not to remember the scene where Cady Heron eats her lunch in a bathroom stall, because God forbid, one must never eat alone.

We’re afraid to show vulnerability. Now, even in college, even in our adulthood, we still trouble over being seen eating alone in public. So we resort to skipping meals and spending time in the comfort of our rooms. We worry that we’ll be deemed “anti-social,” so with every weekend comes the pressure of going out.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with wanting to go out and make friends at parties; but when it’s your “off-day,” when you’ve been struggling to stay awake for the past week, or when all you want to do is to not leave the room and face the outside world, listen to your gut feeling and what your body is telling you. #noFOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). And it is fine eat alone in the dining hall, just put on your earphones, listen to some sweet funky tunes, and reflect on your recent life choices. You can catch up on your homework, or even go sit with that person you vaguely know from that one class; this is how friendships begin!

We all get told to be nice to others too often, yet not enough reminders to also be nice ourselves. In the words of Donna Meagle and Tom Haverford from Parks and Recreation, “TREAT YOURSELF.” Treat yourself to Friday Flowers. Treat yourself to Netflix and Sayles mozzarella sticks at 11pm on a Saturday night. Treat yourself to a HoBros scoop of ice cream on a Sunday afternoon.

The parties and wild nights will be there every weekend, they can wait; your mental health and well-being always come first.

So I stayed in that night, took some time for myself, FaceTimed my best friend from home, and passed out at midnight. It was great.


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