Sometimes, all I want to do is sit alone at the Rott.

Last semester on Tuesdays, I’d get out of Ann Hostetler’s Creative Writing class at 10:45 a.m., walk to the Union to check my mail, get my Time magazine for the week and head over to the Rott to eat an early lunch. I was always the first one there, hoping that Elsie would open the door just a minute or two early. (Don’t worry, she never did.) I would chat with her or Trudy – whoever happened to be swiping cards that day – about how miserably cold it was, about whether or not there were any good desserts or about how they had the tunnel in the bathroom open and that was not someplace either of us would want to go.

And then I would go eat alone.

My favorite table was one near the windows on the far side. Sitting with my back facing the window, I had a premium seat for watching other people who began trickling in a little past 11 a.m. There was a group of sophomore girls that came every day and sat at the same middle table. There were other people who would come in by themselves and sit by themselves, and we’d give each other the head nod of affirmation as we passed each other at the salad bar.

I loved every second of it.

At convocation last Monday, Feb. 14, the speakers talked about relationships and the responsibility all of us on campus have to each other. They asked us to be on the lookout for other students who are in need—for those who may have family problems, identity issues, alcohol struggles or even for those who may be sitting alone at meals.

But I don’t want you to assume I need someone to sit with me. Chances are, if I’m sitting by myself, that’s how I want it to be. I want to make a sandwich, open my Time magazine, have some alone time and not have to make conversation. Is that taking the easy way out? Probably. I’m an extrovert and love being with big groups of people. But sometimes, being alone makes me feel happier than any amount of people can make me.

Be aware of people who need a friend. Be aware of people who need to find a note of encouragement in their campus mail, need affirmation after their presentation in class or need someone to hug them when they’re doing homework late at night in the lounge. But also be aware that sometimes, it’s okay for people to just be alone.