Make downtime a fun time

Ashley Brooke Boyd | Cartoonist

College is the one time in your life that you get to live in such close proximity to such a large population of the perfect demographic for friends: people your same age, in the same stage of life as you. There is no other time you will live, work and play within a 2-mile radius of so many potential friends.

While this may be exciting to some, it can be daunting to others. People are different. Some like to always be with people, at the center of the action, while others prefer to stick to themselves. It should be stated that both of these choices are “correct.” The extrovert isn’t better than the introvert. But as college is a community, it’s important for all people to participate in community-building activities.

Everyone needs quiet time for reflection and relaxation away from other people, but in college many people can stay in that mindset for too long. Netflix and other relaxation activities, such as video games or even cooking, can become times for seclusion. Hours can be spent hidden away from community, doing things independently and without other people.

Interacting with others trains our brains, according to a Medical News Today article. Memory formation and recall can be stimulated by social situations, and can help protect the brain from neurodegenerative issues later in life. As a social species, face-to-face contact is critical for development. Similarly, building community can be just as important as cultivating a healthy diet for maintaining good health.

At Baylor, almost any hobby has a club or community of students interested in participating in it. For example, if one enjoys playing video games, a great way to participate in community is to find others who enjoy similar games, and play together. A gamer yelling at a T.V. screen alone makes for a less exciting situation than a room full of people cheering them on. This makes what is sometimes a solitary activity into a communal one, and allows for memories to be made with others in the Baylor family. A full list of such clubs can be found online.

Another example of a solitary activity made communal is the act of watching movies/shows on online streaming platforms such as Netflix or Hulu. Everyone has days when movies and shows are an escape, and one can lose themselves in the excellent characters and story lines, but most of the time, invitations to others to join in should be extended. From an invitation to friends, to an open door, the smallest amount of effort can transform a lonely night into a time when memories can be made with friends old and new. Inside jokes and references are made in times like those, and can lead to the development of many happy memories.

College is an incredible time for building a community of friends. A good way to look at things done alone, is to ask, “Am I doing this to relax, or to avoid other people/responsibilities.” If the response is the latter, make sure to allow for other people to join in with you in the community. Open the door for opportunities to build meaningful relationships and memories. Even a small action, like a door left ajar, can lead to almost endless possibilities of future friendships and enjoyable times.