On a scale of drinking alone and reading to my stuffed tyrannosaurus rex named Sara, to drunkenly chatting up the pot plant at a pub – I’m about a “Must mentally prepare myself to walk outside my house for an hour,” on the introvert/extrovert scale. This isn’t a check list to make sure that you’re an introvert. This is an article about how to make the transition into ACU easier if you already identify as an introvert. So even if you have any slight introverted, shy tendencies, keep reading for this Introvert’s Guide To Surviving University!
Let me make myself clear: not all introverts dislike people/company.
Let me make this clear, not all introverts hate people or dislike company however; we do tire from social situations. On the flipside of the coin, extroverts gain energy from social situations. However, these behaviours, thoughts and patterns vary from person to person.
Basically, for a short and sweet metaphoric differentiation:
Extrovert = wired controller (needs constant power to function).
Introvert = wireless controller (has power to function but needs a recharge every now and then).
An Introvert’s Guide To Surviving University at ACU:
1. Find a physical space to re-charge your batteries.
In my first year of ACU, I found this space by taking naps at Fitzroy Gardens . In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the best option because of the wildlife – like that guy who always ran whilst blaring Bon Jovi through his ears. However at the time, I required an outlet which provided me the opportunity to remove myself from the situation of meeting new people, meeting the gazes of people and course work.
So, I took naps in a park on a bed of grass just to be alone and get away if just for half an hour. With the new renovations there are so many nooks and crannies that you can find, just to remove yourself from an environment to take care of yourself first.
If you decide to sleep at the St Mary of the Cross Square, you even get this woman to look out for you.
2. If you must do group work, remember the importance of completing the assessment is all that matters.
Let’s be honest, no one likes group work and if you do, you’re probably the reason why no one likes group work. I disliked it because I was forced to interact with a group of people and, I also had to think about an assessment that would be contributed towards my overall mark.
Living in a technological age is great isn’t it?
You can sit upon hours watching two different cuddly animals playing together, watching children be scared of their own shadow and talk to people across vast lands. Utilise this medium as much as you can. Always read your rubric to ensure that you hit those marks when you complete your component.
3. If you’re feeling lonely, it’s OK to talk to someone.
This tip isn’t just for introverts because, we all feel a little lonely sometimes and it’s OK to admit it. In my first year the loneliness got a bit much for me so I talked to the campus counsellor.
I can’t even remember what we talked about though, I vaguely recall telling her the story about how I got drunk and enrolled to vote (I’m totally wild).
I only went for one session but I it helped me to realise that I didn’t want my four years at Uni to be completely lonely.
Here’s some links to help:
4. Make at least one friend.
I suffer from a condition known as R.B.F.
One Uni mate of mine recalled our first meeting. “I mean, I hate the world but, you really looked like you hated the world.”
Being an introvert is not a social disorder. I like time alone because it allows me to process my thoughts in my own time, in my own space. Within classroom situations, there is an excess of stimuli that makes my internal processing go into overdrive. For me, this internal processing is physically expressed in a scowl.
I made a few close mates but, that only started because I chose to make one friend. I was fortunate because she understood when I needed to remove myself after a minute’s worth of group conversation sometimes. She would just accept it and then catch up with me afterwards or, she’d save me a seat in class when I returned.
5. Join a group.
If you find it difficult to make friends but still want to participate in the Uni experience or make connections, join a group.
I didn’t join an official social group but, here’s a list of the student run clubs.
6. Find one thing that grounds you.
Not all introverts are shy or have social anxiety disorder however there can be overlaps.
Whenever I felt a bit claustrophobic and didn’t want to bring attention to myself during class, I’d perform the 5-4-3-2-1 method.
What are 5 things you can see?
What are 4 things that you can touch?
What are 3 things that you can hear?
What are 2 things that you can smell?
And, what is 1 thing that you can taste?
7. If you’re a coffee drinker or like food, you’re in luck.
There are a ton of restaurants near campus that you can make your own space. I recommend the coffee shop that’s a 30 second walk from Uni, on the corner of Victoria pde and Napier St. This place does get busy during lunch hour but, not as much as the school cafeteria. It has a more intimate setting where you can gather your thoughts and chill. You also get a good laugh from some pretty amazing and gorgeous people.
Even the coffee here is happy to see you (Settle a bet for me, do you guys take home the lids and draw the faces on?)
8. Know where your classes are allocated.
This may seem pretty basic but, let’s face it GN.01 makes no sense or having a lecture theatre so far away that it feels like a field trip. Save your time and the potential scenario that you have to talk to people and figure out where you’re going ahead of class.
Here’s a link to the campus map.
F.Y.I, GN.01 is the new building right next to the St Mary of the Cross Square, at the intersection of Victoria Pde and Brunswick St. You’re welcome.
9. Stay true to yourself.
Yeah, I know, cliché but, there are some truths to clichés. If you’re not ready to attend an event then don’t feel badly that you said no. No one has the right to dictate your choices.
If you made a plan and decide to cancel, that person deserves a phone call or some form of notification.
You be you and you do what you do.
10. Have an open mind.
You go to Uni to learn and there happens to be people there, this is just practice for the real world. That doesn’t mean you have to push yourself to talk to every random stranger but, it does mean you get to learn more about people and gain experience points on how to handle them in different situations.
Australian Catholic Uni, although smaller than most others, seems to celebrate the diversity to which all different people, from all different homes come from.
Remember, it’s just practise for the real world.