Last Sunday I did something bold; I went to Brewco (the one on South Street of course), got a pint of Thistly Cross, and then I sat and drank that Thistly Cross in all its glory-alone. Well, I mean, I had my Thistly with me. I just kind of hung out there for a while, sheltered from the gross Scottish rain and inside the warm and cozy walls of their favourite pub and it was a great time. But, it was also a little weird.
It was weird because I realised for the first time that I have become uncomfortable with doing things alone, just by myself. Since coming to St. Andrews I’ve realised that I don’t know how to step away from the chaos that is every day of university life. In a culture where each day is filled with society meetings, balls, coffee dates with friends, deadlines, classes, anything, and it’s so hard to stop. It’s so hard to just pause for a second and be okay with taking time to yourself and going out and doing something not because you feel like you need to, or because your friends want to, but because it’s what you want to do.
I think it’s easy to forget that because in this day and age, we’re always connected. We’re constantly surrounded by constant Facebook messages and Instagram posts and Snapchats and continuously keep in contact with and check up on each other. So the moment we feel like we’re not up to date, we feel uncomfortable and strange. To not feel connected or social is hard, but it’s also a breath of fresh air. Taking a step away from all the craziness and being okay with it is a good thing. While our friends and activities do so much to support us and create an amazing university experience, we tend to be over dependent on other people and social events and underestimate our ability to do things ourselves- At least I know I do.
I often have to remind myself that doing something alone doesn’t mean that I’m lonely. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have friends, that I’m mourning a recent heartbreak, that I’m having a bad day. But, often, I don’t know how to do that. I don’t know how to take myself out for a meal or a drink without being scared that god forbid people will judge me. I cannot go for a walk down East Sands and listen to a podcast (highly recommend Hidden Brain), and how to say no to going to social events because I just need time to myself. I want to get better at doing those things.
Here’s a list of the top 3 things I recommend doing by yourself in St. Andrews.
- Go to Topping’s after the sun sets at like 3:30 (I don’t want to talk about it). Ask for a book recommendation, or get one of their “blind date books.” Settle in on a cozy couch and enjoy. They have a fire place in the winter and will even bring you complementary tea! If that’s not just the cutest thing ever, I don’t know what is!
- Snag a window seat at Taste. Order a vanilla latte (which I can attest are the best in town), and one of those Monster Cookies and people watch out the window. There might even be a newspaper with a crossword left behind. I’m never able to complete all of it because big words are hard, but it’s always worth a try
- On a nice day, walk down the Fife Coastal Path. Pack some snacks and sit on one of the nice benches along the coast and enjoy a few hours with yourself.