Junior Nimita Priyadarshi characterizes herself as an introvert and explains how sometimes being at Naperville Central, a school of about 3,000 students, can be overwhelming.
“I may be in large groups of people, but I still feel like I’m alone,” she said.
Yet, she feels that this loneliness isn’t always other people’s fault. She explains how she often feels scared to talk to people she doesn’t know, especially in large groups, such as those she encounters in her classes. However, for her this solitude is not necessarily always a bad thing. “It has its perks sometimes,” she said. “Like for example, if you are playing tag in PE, and you don’t want to be ‘it,’ you can stand in one spot and not worry about anybody coming to tag you. You can also go off to the side and watch YouTube videos like I do and nobody really notices. It’s kind of nice.”
Still, sometimes the isolation poses its own challenges when collaborating with others becomes necessary.
“In a lot of your classes you won’t really know anyone, so when you have to do group projects and pick partners it can be awkward,” she said.
For Priyadarshi finding a niche where she feels comfortable and accepted has been quite hard. She has had bad experiences in the past with friendships at school and feeling left out in groups of people.
“It can get frustrating when people aren’t the nicest, but I just try to ignore it,” she said.
Instead of letting it get to her, Priyadarshi has found many creative outlets that she has become passionate about, including drawing, playing guitar and song and poetry writing. She also recently joined the Gender & Sexuality Alliance Network, which has helped her feel more accepted.
“It was a more accepting environment in that club,” she said. “The people were a lot nicer to me and had common interests with me like anime and alternative music.”
Through the club, Priyadarshi made a few good friends that she is grateful for. She encourages others to put themselves out there and join clubs as well if they are feeling alone because she found that it really helped her and she knows that she isn’t alone in this struggle of loneliness.
“I don’t think that I am different per se, because everybody has their own struggles and insecurities,” she said. “I think there are a lot of people who are not being acknowledged and a lot of people who feel misunderstood.”
To these people she has some advice.
“To the quiet people, try to put yourself out there, even though you have probably been told that a million times,” she said. “Even if it gets hard you shouldn’t stop trying. Even if you feel invisible you will eventually find that group of a few friends who will truly accept you.”
For the people that seem to be ignoring her and countless other students, she has some advice as well.
“Be more open-minded,” she said. “People see me as the quiet girl but I am so much more than that. You just have to give people a chance, and they may surprise you.”