If you are trying to adjust to college but are also an introvert, you have a complicated combination. Now is the time to break your boundaries and get involved!
I was shy my freshman year of high school. I wasn’t involved in any sports or clubs, and I kept to all the same friends that I had comfortably grown up with. What my 14-year-old self could not have predicted was that I would make so many more friends from different schools, or that I would get involved with more clubs than I could sometimes handle come senior year. My freshman year of college was different. It didn’t take me four years to break out of my shell. I immediately got involved by making an effort to get to know people and interact with the faculty. Maybe I had an advantage being at a small college, but it was still mind over matter. It is not the easiest task for an introvert to complete, but these tips will give you a head start to escape your comfort zone and grow socially and academically. It all begins with freshman year.
Start conversation. Wherever you may be, just do it. In line for coffee, before class starts, walking down the dorm hallway—it doesn’t matter! The more you converse with people, the more people you get to know.
Get involved. Duh! I have friends who joined sororities and—BAM—met tons of girls in seconds. I am on the Residence Life staff, which also lead me to become friends with all my fellow RAs and residents. There’s also an abundance of clubs to join, you just have to be willing to look.
Make friends. As a combination of the first two, genuine friendships help build social confidence. Freshman year is the time to do it so you can spend the rest of college with these gems you pick. Plus, everyone will be doing the same “friend-finding” process.
Be willing to take risks. Maybe you’re not sure if you should go to Starbucks to be a part of that B I G study group, or if you should be that student who spends more time in the professors office hours than most. My advice is do it. It’s all about doing things you’re not used to doing so that you can get comfortable with these unfamiliarities.
Open door. By this I mean open the door to your room and to new experiences. Figuratively, leaving all doors open means you are ready for any situation. Literally, an open dorm door allows people to come to you, too.
Explore campus. One of the easiest ways to meet people, to get involved, and to learn about what’s occurring on campus is to GET OUT THERE. Don’t lock yourself in your room when there is a whole world of friends to make and activities to attend.
To clarify a few questions: yes, alone time in your room is also important. Yes, you can’t attend every activity. Yes, as an introvert these tasks ARE completely out of your comfort zone and can be stress-provoking.
The list of rebuttals can rise, but what you need to realize is that the first few weeks of college are crucial. If you don’t choose to break from your shell and follow through with these tips, your adjustment period is going to lengthen. Now hatch and spread your wings!