There is zero privacy in college.
Like I’m sorry but where am I supposed to call my mom when I need to cry?
Where am I supposed to complain about something/someone that happens to be in the general vicinity?
Where am I supposed to be stupid and immature and crazy at 3am? (Because when I was like that last week in the common room, everyone thought I was drunk.)
I think this lack of privacy is what makes college students want to get away. It’s what makes us feel like we’re in a bubble. This lack of privacy is what makes us feel that even with our newfound freedom, it’s hard to be independent.
This lack of privacy stresses me out sometimes. I spend longer trying to find somewhere to talk to my dad about the fact that my classes are impossible and I don’t think I’ll make any A’s this semester than I spend time actually telling him that. I spend longer trying to find somewhere to cry (where people won’t run into me and think something horrible has happened, only for me to say that I just wanted to cry because sometimes life is overwhelming) than I do actually crying. And I spend longer trying to prove to the people I live with that my life is together, when really it isn’t.
In my Writing 101 class called Hunter Gatherers, we’re discussing modern-day hunter gatherers in Africa. One such hunter gatherer group does not practice privacy. Every action and conversation are done in public. There are no doors to the homes, there are no shutters or blinds. There is no privacy.
When I first learned about this, I was appalled. “That’s not fair,” I thought.
But then I realized something. The very fact that I crave privacy means that I have something to hide. What am I trying to hide? A whole host of things, like my insecurities about people seeing me at my most vulnerable, my “wild” side at 3am, my dramatic rants about irrelevant situations…
But why hide these? Why pretend that I’m the only person that calls her mom crying because today was just too overwhelming? Why pretend that I’m the only person that’s insecure about petty little things, and who is sensitive and sometimes emotionally fragile?
So starting today I’m embracing the lack of privacy. If people see me at my worst, then fine. They’ll be that more surprised when they see me at my best. And when my insecurities are exposed, we can laugh about how ridiculous they are. And when I start to feel stressed that I can’t find somewhere to get away, I can take a deep breath and know that I don’t need to get away; I can be myself and be okay with whoever sees.
Even though college doesn’t have privacy, it’s okay because I don’t have more to hide than anyone else. And I still have a door to my room, which is at least better than those hunter gatherers. Count your blessings…