March 6, 2020
Anyone who has ever talked to me, even just once, can tell that I am very social and typically do not go out by myself. Usually, I bring other people along with me, whether it’s a friend or one of my parents, for even the most mundane tasks. However, I decided that I would try and change that since I will be on my own in college starting this fall.
I started by going to my friend’s ice hockey game. It was his senior game so I wanted to go to support him. It was intimidating at first: I was squished between parents and Mount Hebron High School students coming to support friends and loved ones. The small stands were crowded with black and gold, the team’s colors, and posters to support each of the seniors for their senior night. I know next to nothing about hockey, so I just cheered whenever I heard other people cheering. The game was exciting overall, I was able to see my friend completely pummel a player on the opposing team, knocking the opponent down to the ice. I watched as the hockey puck whizzed across the ice, followed by frantic hockey players attempting to score.
Throughout the game, I was asked many times by hockey moms who I was there to see. I also got a lot of weird looks from the Mount Hebron students, who rightly did not recognize me from their school. I very blatantly felt like an outcast, retreating into my shell. I did not speak unless I was spoken to, even though there were many times where I could have talked to a student or parent about the game. I even avoided saying hi to my friend’s parents because i felt so uncomfortable coming there alone. It was definitely difficult to be there and want to stay there instead of fleeing back to my car. After an hour of trying to keep up, the game ended and I walked down to say hi to my friend. Quickly, before any other strangers could talk to me or question me, I walked to my car and left. It was time for my next independent adventure.
A few days later, I went to my other friends’ theater show at Drama Learning Center. I was very excited and did not know what the show was about or what to expect. I sat pretty close to the middle of the theater with two empty seats on either side of me. Otherwise, the show was uneventful for the most part on my end. Despite my best efforts to be alone, I could not help but find a buddy: my friend’s father. After the show, however, I got stuck in a riveting 15-minute conversation with him since I knew no one else in attendance. Next, I would find myself in hopefully a less embarrassing situation.
A week later, I flew to Tallahassee, Florida for a long weekend trip to visit a college that some of my friends attend. However, this was the first time I would be flying alone. At first, I was nervous that I would mess something up. I have flown many times before to visit family out of state and on vacation so I knew what to do. The real excitement came after I boarded my first flight of two that day. I had a connection in Charlotte, North Carolina. Even though I was alone, I was still able to make a friend! The lady next to me on the airplane became my best friend. I found out that she grew up in Howard County, went to Glenelg High School, her daughter went to Wilde Lake High School, she is a huge Ravens fan, she had bought Super Bowl tickets this year assuming that the Ravens would be there but still went for the experience, and was also flying to Miami that day to go golfing with friends that she would meet there. We talked for most of the flight, taking a break in the middle for her to take a nap and for me to play some games on my phone.
Regarding the time between the flights when I was in Tallahassee, I stayed with my boyfriend in his dorm while I was down there. There were many times when he had plans he had to attend to like classes. During those times when I was alone, I became better friends with the people around me like his roommates and even explored the campus. It made me increasingly excited to go to school there, I had just gotten my acceptance the day before I flew down. I highly recommend walking alone around your future college campus to see if it feels right to you. You will know what I am talking about when it happens to you.
All in all, I had mixed feelings about going out alone. My experiences at the ice hockey game and the theater show were alright, the trip was most definitely amazing. So maybe the next time you think about picking up your phone to ask a friend to run a simple errand with you simply because you do not want to be alone, think about doing it by yourself.