The Student News Site of Northern Michigan University

The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

Meet the Staff
Chris Anderson
Chris Anderson
Sports Editor

Chris moved to Marquette in 2021 and is pursuing a bachelors in entrepreneurship with a minor in computer science. Chris has been the sports editor with the North Wind since August of 2022 and also serves...

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About us

The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

TRADITION — Established in 1979, the Moosemen hold the distinction of being NMUs oldest campus club.
Moosemen rugby embracing tradition with new season underway
Caden SierraSeptember 22, 2023

Solitude fosters reflection

Solitude fosters reflection

Over the weekend, I made the seven-hour excursion to my hometown. Alone. I did not talk to a single soul for four movie lengths of time, and because of this, I became more acutely aware of the sounds, sights and smells of my surroundings.

In those hours of solitude, I learned more about myself than I have over the span of months, and discovered that the root of happiness doesn’t need to be found in shared moments with others. Instead, happiness can be found in witnessing the complex organ in our skull wander without hindrance.

We exist in a society that celebrates independence, yet we are perpetually connected to each other and fear being alone. In college cultures, people have cell phones glued to their hands and rarely have a moment of stillness. Some individuals give solitude a bad rap, and because of this, isolating yourself leads to unintentional stereotypes of being a misanthropic loner.

This view of seclusion, however, stems from the reality that most people are afraid of spending time alone without any distractions. In fact, a study conducted by the University of Virginia revealed that a quarter of women and two-thirds of men would prefer an electric shock over spending 15 minutes with their own thoughts.

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I can understand that a majority of people are terrified of being alone, but how can we possibly thrive without becoming intimate with living in our own skin?

There is vast beauty to be found in silence and solitude. It starts with simply being cognizant. If we are not preoccupied by our phones or the constant chatter around us, then we tap into the secret to self-awareness: no distractions.

Not engulfing ourselves in negligent diversions means we aren’t having meaningless conversation to avoid the silence we dread. We can listen to the world that engulfs us and can witness things we would otherwise miss because of our loud, frantic distractions. If we are engaged in a conversation, then we may not listen to what the other is saying, but rather be preparing our response. However, when we are alone, we have the freedom to reflect on our day, our life and our relationships; through solitude we can discover and create.

I’m not alone in my emphasis of the significance of solitude. Thomas Edison thought that “The best thinking has been done in solitude;” Pablo Picasso claimed that “Without great solitude no serious work is possible;” even Jack Kerouac appreciated aloneness; “No man should go through life without once experiencing healthy, even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true hidden strength.”

However, companionship can also be essential for growth, creativity and happiness. Humans have been dubbed “social creatures” for a reason—most of us have a thirst for company. But, what is there to share from a mind that’s always distracted?

In order to fully flourish, isolation provides the quiet stillness so many of us necessitate. Whether it’s sipping a cup of coffee in the morning or solo-hiking up the backside of Sugarloaf, aloneness may be exactly what we need while navigating through the chaotic, distracting and congested mess we call college.

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