Alone time

Being a ‘social introvert’ can be difficult at times. On the one hand, we love to meet new people, and we love to be around people. But we also require considerable lengths of time alone, in order to recharge.

When it comes to explaining introversion and extroversion, I am especially fond of the X-box analogy: introverts are like wireless X-box controllers. Our batteries are charged by being connected to a power source – alone time – and we can then be used independently, away from the console for a while, until we need to be recharged again. Extroverts, on the other hand, must always remain connected to their power source – human interaction – in order to function properly. Whilst perpetual socialising energises extroverts, it is usually quite draining for us introverts.

There are, of course, a multitude of misconceptions when it comes to the nature of introversion. Introverts are often mistaken for innately unfriendly, ‘boring’, haughty or ‘shy’ individuals. This might be true for some introverts, however many of us are social introverts. This may sound like an oxymoron of sorts, but it simply means that we possess the capacity to thrive in certain social contexts, but without sufficient time alone to recharge, things can turn rather ugly.

When my energy levels are particularly low (be it due to a lack of sleep or food, or simply due to the whimsy of my unpredictable mind) it is a bad idea for me to be present in a stimulating social environment. When I am exhausted, events, parties, and lengthy conversations will do nothing but amplify my exhaustion, until I feel (and look) wholly detached from my surroundings. Even the mere thought of having to constantly register and respond to endless emotional and environmental cues is enough to tire me out sometimes, and this is when I feel the sudden insurmountable urge to go home in order to (in the literal sense) Netflix and chillbut not for too long, as, ironically, the feeling of loneliness is one of the worst feelings imaginable to me.

An introvert’s ‘alone time’ does not always have to take place in complete isolation from the rest of the world. As long as we are given our own space to recuperate and enjoy our own company (in my case, usually with a good film and some take-away) it doesn’t really matter if there are people around us.

For me, when going to school becomes mentally overwhelming, I often rejoice in the forty minutes of ‘alone time’ I have on the train journey back, listening to music and staring blankly out of the window, allowing my random, frenzied thoughts to come and go as they wish, and without being burdened with the need to explain any of them to anyone.

Ask Sadia: A-level Options

Sara asked: “I’m a year 12 student, and, having achieved all A stars at GCSE, I’m now conflicted as to which A levels to do. I’m currently taking History, Maths, Chemistry and Biology – initially I thought that I wanted to be a doctor since it offered stability, but I’ve realized the humanities are my passion – and I’d like to do philosophy, PPE or English. It’s late in the year, but I’m thinking of adding English – as somebody my age who writes this informed, intelligent, and engaging blog, what would your advice be?”

Dear Sara,


Firstly, congratulations on your outstanding GCSE results, and secondly thank you for visiting my blog.

I must admit, I was (and to some extent, still am) in the exact same boat as you; I received all A*s at GCSE, and since I liked each of my subjects more or less equally, I had to make the huge decision of whether to pursue the sciences, or the humanities, further. I ended up choosing the humanities.

I think it’s fairly normal for Year 12s to question their subject choices. It feels like the rest of our lives depends on the academic subjects we are studying now. At first, I was worried that my options (Maths, English, History, and Economics) wouldn’t give me the kind of ‘stability’ that you alluded to in your question. Now I’m convinced I have made the right decision- I’m really enjoying studying these things. Like you, I also considered becoming a doctor for security purposes, but then I realised that I would be devoting a huge chunk of my life to something I’m not particularly passionate about.

With regard to taking English this late into the year, I personally wouldn’t recommend it. We’ve already covered so much content, and it would probably take a whole year to catch up. That being said, if English is definitely something you would like to pursue further, it might be worth looking into retaking Year 12; I know a few people who are doing this.

English is a subject that you don’t necessarily require an A-level to thoroughly enjoy. It is centred on literature, and you certainly don’t need a qualification to enjoy books, plays and poems!

Universities are looking for prospective students who demonstrate a strong passion for their subjects by reading outside of the curriculum; if you are keenly interested in Philosophy or PPE, start reading some related books, and going to public lectures.

The good thing about your current subjects is that they are facilitating ones, and you could enter virtually any career path with them.

I hope this helped a little! And remember, you’re not alone; we all have meltdowns and question our life decisions from time to time.

Sadia Ahmed, 2018

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To be ‘successful’ | Sadia Ahmed

The Rose

The Oxford Dictionary defines success as ‘the accomplishment of an aim or purpose’, however it also cites a secondary meaning: ‘the attainment of fame, wealth, or social status’. It comes as little surprise that the latter is such a widely accepted definition of the term, especially in an increasingly consumerist, fame-obsessed society like ours. None of us are immune to the desire to be successful, whether we want to succeed at school, or at being better siblings to petulant little brats, or at being more ‘healthy’. Ultimately, the precise definition of success is subjective; it varies considerably from person to person.

We tend to see some goals (such as drinking more water, or smiling at more people more often) as ‘small’ goals, conducive to smaller degrees of success, and we see other goals as ‘big’ goals- long-term and universally sought after, like big houses, nice cars, marriage (although…

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Colourism in Asia | Sadia Ahmed

The Rose

Throughout history, human beings have always been fairly tribal creatures, focusing on physical, linguistic, and geographical differences to delineate themselves from their others. The social construct of race is something that runs deep in the fabric of our world, separating ethnic groups from one another. Colourism, however, is a little more complex than this. It typically exists within individual racial groups, thus further contributing to the erstwhile concept of tribalism, and generating tribes within tribes, within tribes. Although no country in the world is fully immune to having some of its citizens possessing such views, the concept of colourism is one that is particularly prevalent in Asia. From the plentiful tea gardens of Bangladesh, to the bustling cities of China, right through to the mountainous regions of Saudi Arabia, the term fair is usually interchangeable with the term beautiful.

According to the OED, the term racism refers to:


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