Social Butterfly in the Shadows

I opened up my pen + paper journal this morning.

My thought was to recap the week. I did that on the blog yesterday. I recapped the first few days and the entirely academic events to my spring semester in the penultimate year of my college experience. Nothing terribly wild.

Here’s the emotional + social side. Here’s a bit on the important life thoughts.

When you come back to college from winter break, there’s some pressure. Who do you connect with? Who do you message to meet up and get drinks with? If you don’t go out by the first weekend, are you a failure at the whole college / social life thing?

The other night, I went and saw my friends at our Harry Potter Alliance meeting. We watched a high budget fan film on Lily and James Potter falling in love. I sat in the back of room. In the group discussion afterward, I fell silent. Just listening.

Overwhelmed. It’s a word I toss around lately. Whether lightly in small talk or with blatant sincerity, it describes the first week back into the semester. Similar faces but new relationships. All these social gatherings when I was getting used to the couch, my headphones and my laptop. Essentially falling into the cabin fever feelings during these Ohio snowstorms. This week meant finally emerging from my ice-frosted house to see people again.

As a person, I’m halfway between antisocial and outgoing. It depends on the circumstances and the day. It can tip either way. Vacation with family (cats included) ended up leaving me in realm of getting used to existing and doing things by myself. Reading, writing, cooking, hiking etc. I still visited with people and went to social events, but it was so low-key, I didn’t even think about it.

This week has been overwhelming. For one, all the group projects. Maybe not all college majors are this way, but dietetics is very team-oriented. Every one of my nutrition classes this semester has multiple group projects on the horizon.

Don’t get me wrong: Group projects save from the concept of ten-minute solo presentations on community assessments, but there’s the whole thing of dealing with people in group settings for extended periods of time.

The second point in coming back, is that people wonder how you are, what you’re doing, when you’re going to meet up…So much to consider. Or, if there’s radio silence, there’s uncertainty. What happened over break? Are we good still?

Being social? What? How? It’s laughable to ask, but there’s a grain of truth in asking these silly questions.

Personally, I slip easily into being a loner and steadily warm up to the social life. It’s not essential for me to be surrounded by people. Still, I know with certainty that I could never live alone. I love making small talk. I kind of enjoy striking up conversations with strangers in odd places. Meanwhile, I can get pretty quiet in a friend group. It’s a weird balancing act.

Such is the life of a strange shadowy social butterfly in her various college / life adventures.

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4 thoughts on “Social Butterfly in the Shadows

    • withasideofburnttoast says:

      It really is a weird combination. I feel like when people first get to know me, it might throw them, but my close friends have come to know that the spectrum depends on the moment and situation. I remember having space to myself for long periods of time in my freshman year of college, and I really found it lonely. So having that small tight group of friends has been a happy medium. I’m glad to hear that you relate strongly to it too! It’s such an odd place to be socially, and at times…hard to explain too, right?

      Liked by 1 person

      • EluminoraCreations says:

        I had a similar experience: I lived on campus one summer, and though I had a roommate, I hardly ever saw her, which meant lots of time and space to myself. Normally, I like that, but that summer was incredibly lonely and I had an emotional and mental breakdown at the end of it. On the other hand, sometimes even with a small group of people I know well, I just want to be alone. How does one maintain balance when one feels like a walking contradiction?

        Liked by 1 person

      • withasideofburnttoast says:

        I have a friend currently who is in this same situation with having a nearly nonexistent roommate, so she faces a lot of time alone in her space. This was also me in my first two years of college. I wasn’t involved in college life and kept mostly to myself. I understand the loneliness and the emotional tax of that. I also had a freshman breakdown due to feeling like I had a lack of support. It’s strange to be able to lean either way on the spectrum. I feel like I contradict myself based on the day of the week. It’s hard to find that balance. I like devoting a day or two a week to spend time with friends, whether getting drinks/food or catching a movie. Even if it’s only for an hour. Then when I’m starting out in the week, I devote time to work and writing and enjoy the time for myself to practice self-care in the college lifestyle. Have you found ways to balance this sense of self-contradiction? Cheers to a Monday by the way. I apologize that I saw your comment but did not end up responding!


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