As an introvert myself I understand how challenging university can be. The social aspects of university can be daunting for some and making new friends can be a challenge. But we can’t shy away from all that university has to offer. Saying yes to new experiences and putting yourself out there will only lead to personal development and growth. So here is my guide for any struggling introvert to navigate their way through university life.
Set small goals
Instead of making a New Years resolution at the start of the year, something you want to change about yourself, set small goals throughout the year, things you can achieve. This is something I started doing to help overcome hurdles as a result of my introverted traits.
One such goal was to simply say yes to things. As introverts, we tend to overthink certain situations. But if you stop questioning all the “what ifs” and just say yes, you can open yourself up to new and exciting opportunities university has to offer.
While like-minded friends can be a great support network for introverts, socialising with people who are opposite to us are incredibly important as to challenge one another and foster personal growth. As socially confident and outgoing individuals, extroverts can broaden our horizons by introducing us to new people or pushing us to try something new. You don’t have to completely change who you are, but extroverts can give us the encouragement we need to take that first step.
Join a society or club
This may sound like such a simple thing to do, but for introverts it can be quite daunting. However, it is a great way to meet new people and make friends during your time at university. And the best part is that everyone there will share similar interests as you, whether it’s academic related, a cultural club or a sports team. So it’s a good starting point if you find yourself a bit awkward in social situations and don’t know what to say.
I joined a social netball team at university and I could not recommend team sports more highly. Not only is it a great way to get you out of the house and active, but it’s also a fun social interaction that helps build character development.
There’s no other way around it, getting through university as an introvert will require you to challenge yourself. This is only if you want to develop friendships and experience new things because neither is just going to fall into your lap. And this doesn’t have to mean making drastic changes, but by taking small steps you can ease yourself into it. You can start by contributing to a class discussion or saying hi to the person next to you. I spent my first year of university with my head down and it was only until I started pushing myself to try new things that the university experience became more enjoyable for me.
Stay true to you
Finally, it is important to stay true to who you are. Being an introvert is not a bad thing and in fact, there are many misconceptions about introverted traits. Being quiet is not the same as being shy, some of us just don’t like talking for the sake of talking! And the idea that introverts don’t like people or being in the company of others is also false.
It’s important that we grow and continue to better ourselves but that doesn’t mean changing who you are to fit into university life. Introverts have many strengths and it’s important to embrace them. And if you don’t take a little quiet time to recharge after all the social aspects of university, you’ll be absolutely exhausted!