Alone in Proctor

I am often struck by how activities that are entirely normal and standard in the broader context of life, can be unusual or uncomfortable here on campus. The example of this that I run into most often is eating meals alone. This is something that people, including myself, do all the time and don’t even think twice about in “normal” life. However, for some reason, walking into Proctor alone often provokes a lot of anxiety. Sitting down for a solo dining hall meal usually provokes the same thought process every time. First, I tell myself that this is a totally normal thing, no need to worry! Then, the pressure to pull out my phone or computer begins to build. Eventually, I cave, and stare at a screen for no real purpose while I eat. Why does this happen? Is it because I am uncomfortable with people seeing me alone? If this is the case, then why does pulling out the technology help soothe anxiety? Perhaps the root of it is that, in this place of high achievement and stress, I am most afraid of people thinking I am not being “busy” or “productive?”

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