… and some tips on how to solve it
Well, we are officially halfway through the first semester folks, and since I’m a first-year student, I thought to myself “wouldn’t it be fun to reflect back?” Well to be perfectly honest, no. But jokes aside, I was genuinely so ecstatic to join Loughborough University; society has deemed us smart enough to nurture our minds with further fertile knowledge rather than send us off to work in a salt mine. And when I first took my initial steps onto campus, I thought I had entered some sort of strange utopia where supermodels and modernism coexisted into a seamless synthesis of futurism and optimism; until about a couple of days later, when I had one of the biggest existential crises of my life.
Just like anything else in life, every problem comes from a range of sources and it’s rather foolish to boil it down to a single reason; but to save this article from being 20 pages long and getting uncomfortably intimate, I thought it would seem more elegant to centre my thoughts on others instead. I am currently 19 and my birthday is in September, so it won’t be long until my age rhymes with “smelly”, but I digress – everyone else is older! I think I have met a grand total of 5 people that are the same age as me.
I suppose it’s something to get over, which obviously I have, since I’m relaxed enough to write about it in my own overthought, idiosyncratic way of writing. And I understand that age is just a number and it’s rather shallow to think otherwise, but when I’m just a skinny kid fresh from college and everyone else is a confident and experienced 20-something-year-old that looks like a supermodel, I do question my own existence as a corporeal being. I hope my attitude doesn’t sound too hostile, but the point that I’m trying to raise is that, for the introverts that are still feeling the symptoms of these worries, I have an answer!
This may seem obvious but the answer is work – just work and be productive. When you’re down, or just uncomfortable, it’s so easy to procrastinate even the easiest tasks, but just contributing to your work by writing even a sentence adds a great deal of goodness and warmth to the seemingly never-ending coldness of loneliness. And if you’re far better than I am, because you have better intrinsic work ethic then, well, to try and save my own relevance, my other advice would be to feel open enough to communicate with others. I remember despite feeling the positive atmosphere all around the university from all the 20-something year-olds, I felt more reclusive than ever because I literally didn’t recognise anyone and I was anxious that other people would simply crush me in a social context. But truth be told, when I stopped brooding in my room, went out and joined societies (I’m not really a night person), I didn’t meet a single person that hasn’t been nice.
Literally everybody has had to succeed to get here. So in other words, the over-indulgent mean jerks that were there during your earlier education years have been filtered out, everyone else is a variation of you. So, for anyone who’s still rather introverted and reclusive, I want to say that it’s not too late to feel at home. The people here will eventually be your friends, you just have to let them (even if they’re 20-something-year-olds who look like supermodels).
-By Leo Li