A New Me: The Era Of The Recluse


University is a hot pot of different personalities and interests. The changes each person faces may vary vastly. Someone may become more studious while the next person will become laid back. A change for me that I didn’t expect was becoming more reclusive.

I’ve been described as a loner, shy, and quiet. My closest friends say that I have a bubbly charisma that can win over anyone, but I don’t bode well in large social gatherings. Before I came to England, I would make small talk, I would talk about my interests because my relationships were established then. England was a completely different ballpark. I knew no one and had no family to go to.

I met a person at a society gathering whom I’ve now become friends with. I told them that I’ve found opening up about my interests contaminates and taints them. He said that opening up about your passions makes them more beautiful. I agree that opening up is beautiful but only when that passion is understood, at least that’s what I need in my relationships. In society meetings, I found that there was an absence of that understanding because of the awkward small talk that occurs when you smoosh 7 strangers together. 

After a couple of socials, I found myself phoning my friends and telling them that I didn’t want to open up about anything, not even my major. I wanted people to know nothing about me period. So, I told myself: ‘Just say your name, where you’re from and your major. That’s all people needed to know, that’s it and you can be silent for the rest of the night.’ So that’s what I did. 

The first person I talked to in the next Social made me feel bad about my major. They made me feel like there wasn’t a point in taking my major because it was creative writing. I understand that was one experience that doesn’t reflect everyone, but that interaction was the nail in the coffin for me. I officially became reclusive. I was experiencing so much difficulty with socializing already. I had enough so I gave up going to large social gatherings altogether because of this gamble (which I seldom enjoyed anyway). 

I have this technique where I scout people. If I find them interesting, I introduce myself. I might meet someone at lectures, cafes, or social gatherings and something will draw me in. I’ll either walk up to them on the spot or try and exchange socials the next time I see them. This method is how I have 99.9% of my friends. 

I pressured myself to go to socials because I was scared of ending up alone. I thought that in order to feel socially accepted I had to put myself out there in a way that made me uncomfortable in order to conform. In the twilight of my teenage years, my mother pressured me to socialize in ways that filled me with anxiety. This only made me more socially awkward and defensive. I was made to feel like I had to do this in order to survive.

I stopped pressuring myself and evaluated the methodology that worked best for me. I found that I stopped feeling like there was something wrong with me once I relieved myself of that pressure. I’ve accepted that I like reading in cafes, going to the library alone, and studying with my friends. I’ve felt more peaceful and at ease since then because there is a beauty in that comfort that will attract the right people. 

In conclusion, I became a recluse in university because I stopped trying to conform to society’s expectations. Socializing is still difficult for me but don’t pressure myself to go to social gatherings, I only go when I want to. In my view, we should embrace the beauty that comes with being an introvert. University unraveled a new self for me because it taught me to let go of other people’s expectations and follow my own. Thank you very much for reading. 


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