Student Issues

How To Survive College As An Introvert

You make an excuse as to why you can’t join your classmates for a trip to the pub after a long day of classes. You prefer to spend your lunchtime in a quiet classroom or the library rather than a noisy, crowded canteen. Basically you just want to come to college, do what you have to do, and go home again. Congratulations, you’re introverted!

College can be a scary place for introverts, who need a lot more personal space than others. Stepping into Freshers Week you suddenly find yourself surrounded by students and organisations trying to pull you in. There is nowhere to hide, you are to brave the masses and hope you come out the other side in one piece. But don’t worry, it gets easier.

The biggest challenge for an introvert, I find, is how little extraverts understand you. They thrive on social situations and yet here you are, sitting alone, not doing much of anything. You sit in silence and it’s clear your mind is somewhere else. How can this be? You will find extraverts will try to change you. They will insist on you joining them to every social event the college has to offer, and saying no becomes more difficult as time goes by. In the end, having said no so many times, you will find yourself never being asked again. They have learned their lesson; you’re not going leave your shell any time soon.

It may seem to the majority that you want to be a loner, and maybe you do. However, it’s not always the case. You still want friends. A close-knit group of friends, not over 200 strangers on Facebook latched to your account. You find yourself being the only one in the computer lab during lunch minding everyone’s bags while they go to the canteen. The biggest failure to yourself is wishing you were extraverted. There is nothing wrong with being introverted. It’s just the way you are.

After four years studying an undergraduate degree and currently studying a year in postgraduate, I still find myself avoiding social events. Some genuinely cannot be helped because I work part-time. However, I find if you really want to make the effort and leave college with at least one forever friend, which I do, go to a social event but just stay for a couple of hours. You don’t need to make up excuses, more than likely you will have college the following morning, or you will have been up since 7.00am or 8.00am and are beyond exhausted. If you really don’t want to be the first to leave, or to be the only one, arrange to leave with another person because more than likely others will also want to leave early for whatever reason.

The best advice I can give you for making friends, though I don’t consider myself an expert, is to avoid saying no too often. As I mentioned before, people will eventually stop asking you to go out if you repeatedly turn them down. More than likely you would rather meet up with just a few people you get along with, so why not arrange something? Go to the cinema, grab a bite to eat, go for a drink, etc. Don’t leave everything to the other person. Taking control of the situation will make the social side of college a lot more comfortable and you will leave with friends who understand you and accept you for the way you are.