I’m an introvert. Yes, it’s true. I’d much rather chill out at home with tea in my hand and my puppy on my lap than pretend I’m having fun at some huge party surrounded by people who I don’t even know.
Don’t get me wrong; I DO enjoy socializing. In fact, there are a lot of misconceptions about being an introvert. We get told that we don’t like people, we have poor social skills, we don’t have valuable ideas, and the list goes on….
But, here’s the thing: none of those accusations are true. Introverts ARE capable of having great social skills, they CAN become successful business men or women, and we DO value the relationships that we have.
Throughout our whole college career we’ll hear things such as:
- “Get out of the box.”
- “Put your introverted self away.”
- “You need to become more outgoing and change your personality, or you’ll never have a fun college experience.”
- “You won’t meet anyone by sitting on the couch!”
While it is important to expand your horizons and step outside of your comfort zone, everybody does it differently, and nobody has the right to judge. If you’re introverted like me, know that you can have a fantastic college experience. Here’s how:
- Find your circle: You’ll come across tons of people in your curriculum, but that doesn’t mean you need to befriend every single one of them. If conversations make you feel a little uncomfortable, start small. Talk to the person next to you, in back of you, to the side of you, wherever. If you only take away one friend from a class, so be it. Lose the notion that you need to have a billion friends. Remember: introverts care about quality NOT quantity.
- Take advantage of office hours, e-mail, anything! Have an idea or question that you would love to express to your professor, but are a little apprehensive to ask in front of class? Approach your professor after class, during office hours, or even through e-mail. Don’t let your idea or question go by the wayside. A professor will respect you so much more if you contribute your thoughts to them instead of ignoring them.
- Create your own fun: If going to a party just isn’t your thing, find something that is. The campus is filled with tons of activities for everyone to get involved in. From intramural sports to yoga, art classes, Bible study, and various organizations, the opportunities for those of us who are on the reserved side, are endless.
Find your people. Find your common interests (yes, there ARE people who have the same interests as you). Stick with them. Quit listening to the voices that tell you who you should be or what you have to do. Everyone’s personality is different, and if you’re introverted, there’s nothing wrong with that. After all, YOU create your own experiences, no one else does.