First year at university and fresh out of home? It would be a dream come true if not for the wretched anxiety of living in a dorm with other people. Even besides the coronavirus wreaking havoc to what may be an already limited social life, other people can sometimes be overwhelming, especially when you are stuck inside with them. Here are some tips on how to keep your balance, sanity, and work ethic.
1. Make friends with your dorm mates
What? I hear you think to yourself. I came here for advice for introverts. Hear me out! Fellow introverts, it is very important for us to find genuine connection and form a tight network of people close to you. This brings several advantages: for one, tight relationships will make you more comfortable and understood when you are forced to socialise with other people or just want to chill alone. Another advantage is that a good friend will drag you out to hang out when you didn’t even realise you needed it. Solitude is good and all, but we all need some time connecting with people too. This is especially important during the Age of Corona, where loneliness is extra potent and isolating. Go get some friends! You can do it. I believe in you.
2. Establish a routine through habits
In the name of honesty, for many night owls (like me) this is indeed a hard undertaking! When your sleeping schedule is in direct conflict with the rest of society’s working hours, it is only natural that you feel drained during the day and energized during the night despite the sluggish exhaustion. Ways to combat that include drinking more water, eating nutritious meals at regular times, organising your online learning schedule, and many more other tricks.
It all does look like a lot of work! But here’s the truth: you don’t need to develop these habits all at once! It takes conscious repetition of small actions to build an unconscious habit. It also helps to take shortcuts, such as eating ready-made meals while you slowly build the habit of planning and cooking your own meals, or slowly organising your timetable and letting yourself take plenty of breaks for water whenever you just have to escape the lecture on the computer screen for a couple of minutes. The takeaway from this tip is: don’t be afraid to change, and don’t be afraid to take it slow either, but do it.
3. Invest in your hobbies
You have hobbies, right? If yes, fabulous! I will tell you what to do in a sec. If not, no problem! Anything you wanted to try before or sound vaguely interesting can be a new hobby. That can include reading, artistic explorations, doing maths problem in your spare time, or working out—literally anything that can stimulate your brain and make you focus and feel accomplished. Once you have gotten a lock on your hobbies, the most important thing is to screw around and have fun with it. Who cares if you want to read something weird, or make a paper mache statue of Shrek, or write an equation that solves into a dumb answer, or do the most confounding workout sets ever known to humankind? It’s fun. And it cuts through the necessity of your studies and the atmosphere of dread during this pretty difficult time. Why not revive your childish side and crack yourself up? All you need for a little bit more absurd joy in your life is simply some effort into making stuff or maintaining the behaviours you like about yourself. Plus, you are staying indoors for your hobby; you’re basically social distancing. But don’t feel pressured into making something great—you don’t have to do anything earth-shattering. Just something doable and playful. You can even post it on the internet for laughs if you want.
So there you go! Three tips as a brief guide on surviving this not-quite apocalypse as an introvert in a dorm. Remember, take it slow… but take it, if you want to stay sane.
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