Let yourself embrace post-pandemic change

Your source of happiness doesn’t have to stay the same


Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Going on walks was a common way to keep busy during quarantine – it also may have changed some people’s perspective on alone time.

Prarthna Batra, Staff Columnist

Three years ago this week, things were very different. The COVID-19 pandemic took the world by storm, impacting the way we interact with the people around us and our surroundings forever. When a life-altering event like this takes place, it will inevitably leave us with a lasting impression, and I know many people who claim the pandemic changed their fundamental character traits. Sometimes that can be hard to accept, but it is a reality. We should all embrace how we’ve changed post-pandemic because maybe that change isn’t a bad thing.

As technology advances, and access to vaccinations increases, our social lives are back to how they were before the pandemic in most ways — but I refrain from using the word “normal.” 

A defining characteristic of our personalities as human beings is whether we are introverts, extroverts, ambiverts or somewhere in between. Although I find it difficult to have a clear-cut definition of introversion and extroversion, I like to think of them as what fuels or recharges your social battery. 

Let me explain. If being around people, talking to strangers or partying sounds energizing after you’ve had a long week at work, you are extroverted. If a quiet evening at home by yourself and the comfort of not having to “entertain” anyone fuels you, then you are more introverted. I don’t think, however, that either label is the be-all, end-all — we’re all a mix of both. Having a balance of self-care and socializing is completely normal, and so is having a different definition of balance from your best friend or family member. Everyone’s needs are different and vary across a spectrum. But after the pandemic, where on that spectrum people identify has been altered. 

Everyone’s needs are different and vary across a spectrum. But after the pandemic, where on that spectrum people identify has been altered. 

My entire life, I have been extremely extroverted. I thrived in social situations, be it a crowded party, people-watching at a cute coffee shop or even one-on-one time with the people I love. Before the pandemic, I couldn’t bear to spend any time by myself. I would go out of my way to be with others.

Pre-pandemic, no one would ever catch me planning intentional alone time. The pandemic forced me to learn how to spend time with myself. This resulted in long walks with my thoughts, reading books and having solo movie nights. 

Fulfilling my social craving simply wasn’t possible — so these were the things that fueled me. Slowly, intentional alone time inside the house morphed into solo dates. Going out to lunch by myself, going shopping or even something as simple as going to the bookstore by myself. 

Because of the pandemic, the thing I dreaded the most has become something I treasure. I no longer feel the need to constantly be around people. I felt comfortable in my own presence. 

This isn’t to say that I am not extroverted anymore. I still have extrovert qualities. I actively sit outside and do my work on campus when the weather is nice just so I have an excuse to people-watch. Sometimes I will pick a spot in the ZSR atrium where I know I will probably bump into someone and have a conversation. I’ve just become more selective. 

I know not to take my company for granted anymore, so I choose to share my time with people who fill me up and don’t drain me.

Embracing the introverted side of my personality was something I needed. Sure, it was strange at first, but I’ve gotten to know myself better in a way that prepared me for college. 

 The alone time I spent in high school leading up to my freshman year was worthwhile because, as many of us know, freshman year can be lonely at first. You have to know how to tackle that challenge by yourself, be it studying on your own or overcoming the hesitation to eat alone. My alone time is sacred to me — it allows me to reconnect with myself, my thoughts, my passions, and my hobbies. It refuels me as much as it still excites me to see the people I love. 

Many of my current passions wouldn’t be as important to me without the time I had to learn about what I like. Some of my proudest moments and accomplishments are all a result of opening myself up to my more introverted side and taking the time out to work on the things about which I’m truly passionate.

Take time to figure out what suits you best, and live your life the way that makes you feel the best!

The pandemic increased my appreciation for spending time with friends and family, being in social settings, parties, and all things extroverted, but it also helped me gain comfort in the areas I refused to embrace earlier.

Navigating life in this new world is scary and confusing. Embracing a long journey of self-discovery is okay, and if anything, I encourage it. Whether you’re like me, and the pandemic pushed you to look inside yourself, or if you found new social energy in this post-pandemic world, you’re moving in the right direction. 

Take time to figure out what suits you best, and live your life the way that makes you feel the best!