Your first year of college is supposed to be a time of excitement, with new people and new experiences around every corner. While all the commotion makes some jump for joy in anticipation, others prefer to run away from the hustle and bustle of the new school year. If you’re an introvert, like me, or just the quiet type, the first year of college can be daunting — but luckily, there are some ways to help you feel more at ease in your new home.
1. DO make time for yourself
The first thing you’ll notice about college life is that it is exceptionally busy. This is why it’s important to schedule some time alone with yourself, especially if you’re more of an introvert. A lot of times, all we need to calm our nerves and de-stress in some peace and quiet.
There will be lots of places on campus that you can go for this — the key is finding the right spot for you. Maybe a club you’ve joined has a room that is unoccupied for most of the day, or perhaps the library is where you feel most at ease. Even your dorm room can supply a spot for a break.
This time alone is just as important as social time, so don’t be ashamed for taking it. Your mind (and your grades) will thank you!
2. DON’T apologize for being quiet
While it’s true that the best classrooms often involve heavy discussion, that isn’t always practical every day for an introvert. If you just want to sit back and observe, don’t feel bad about it! Balance this by talking a lot when you feel up to it — everyone has good and bad days, and your professors will understand.
This applies when you are out with friends, too. Every time you go out doesn’t need to be an all-out party — it’s all about doing what feels comfortable for you. If you need to stay in one night, or sit in the back of the room, go right ahead.
3. DO find low-maintenance friends
One of the things I love about my best friends is that they don’t require a lot of maintenance. They aren’t asking me to hang out every single night, because they know I need my space. They are there when I need them, but if we go days (or even weeks) without talking, we can always pick up right where we left off.
This lifestyle is perfect for the college introvert, who may or may not feel like going out every night. If you can find friends who understand your need for alone time, but are willing to welcome you back into the group when you feel up to it, make sure you keep them: those are the friendships that will last a lifetime.
4. DON’T feel like you need to have a huge social circle
Likewise, you don’t have to have two hundred friends by the end of move-in day. With less friends comes less social obligations, which is great for the introverted college student. Despite what most blogs say, you can keep your friend group small and still have a great time in school.
You have the whole year to meet and greet with your peers. There are people you will grow closer to and people you’ll drift away from — and that’s okay! It’s all about keeping yourself happy by surrounding yourself with people who make you the best you that you can be.
5. DO be open to new things
As introverts, we tend to shy away from new opportunities. Fear of the unknown kicks in, and we know we’d rather be in our rooms, watching Netflix or reading a book. But sometimes it’s actually a good thing to step out and see all that the world (and our university) has to offer. Go to a movie night or club meeting every once in a while when you’re feeling up to it. Who knows? You might meet another introvert just like you that becomes your low-maintenance best friend!
It can be hard to be the shy one in college, but there’s no reason to feel guilty about being an introvert. Stay sane by promising alone time to yourself, keeping a small group of close friends, and trying something new every once in a while. This will ensure that you make the most of your college years, without feeling uncomfortable all the time.