Having a fresh new start in a brand new town where no one knows your name probably seems like the ultimate thrill for a lot of people. But for introverts like me, this brings lots of worry and anxiety. When you start college, you are basically starting your life over, without any parents or friends to back you up. This can be a lot for a more reserved person who is used to their life back home. So, if you need some tips on how to navigate college as an introvert, I’ve written down a few things that really helped me when I first started college, and I hope they help you too!
Try to find a roommate that’s similar to you
The first thing you can do to ease your worries about college is something you can do way before you ever even step foot on campus. Finding a roommate is not an easy task, but since you’ll be sharing a small space with a stranger for the next year, it’s important to find someone you get along with. Almost every school will have some sort of Facebook page for freshmen looking for roommates, and I highly suggest looking for one this way. This way, you can find someone who is looking for exactly the same thing you are, and you’ll get a chance to “screen” someone before agreeing to be their roommate. You’ll want to find someone similar to you in terms of sleeping habits, hobbies, and cleanliness. This will greatly help you feel better about moving to college, and will hopefully get you more excited!
Get to know your roommate before move-in
The next tip on our list goes along with our last one, but I found this very helpful when trying to navigate my first few days of college. When you first move in, you most likely aren’t going to know anyone except your roommate, meaning you’ll probably rely on them to get through those first few days. So, it’s important that you get to know them somewhat before move-in day comes. Even if it’s just casual texting back and forth or maybe a phone call, you’ll have a much easier time your first few days at college if you know you have at least one person on your side!
Introduce yourself to others on your floor
The next tip on this list might be a difficult one for some because it definitely was for me. It takes some courage to introduce yourself to strangers, especially when you’re thinking in the back of your mind that everyone is silently judging you. But, everyone is feeling the exact same hesitation when it comes to starting new friendships in college, so I can guarantee you’re not alone in that. Getting to know some of the other people on your floor is a great way to slowly start branching out and making new friends. Whether you see someone walking down the hall or you run into them in the bathroom, don’t be afraid to say hi!
Make friends in your classes
This next tip for navigating college as an introvert is crucial for both your social life and your academics. Befriending a few people in your classes is the perfect way to connect over a mutual subject, but you can also help each other out with things like homework and projects. On the first day of class, I suggest sitting next to someone who looks like they could potentially be a friend, but also someone who looks prepared for the class. Plus, if you’re like me and hate asking professors questions in front of the class, you’ll have a friend right next to you you can ask!
Join as many extracurriculars as you can
This next tip is probably the one I want to emphasize the most, purely because I found a lot of success with it. Joining extracurriculars in college is absolutely crucial if you want to have the best college experience you can possibly have, trust me on this one. When I first started college, I joined practically every extracurricular in sight, partly because I was hoping to make new friends and partly because there were just so many organizations that interested me. But it was within these extracurriculars where I found my closest friends. Joining an organization of any kind at college will not only bring you closer to people who share a common interest with you, but it will also open lots of doors for you in the future.
Look for a job on campus
Working a job on campus has a lot of benefits, but if we look at it from an introvert’s perspective, I highly recommend it. Having an on-campus job will not only introduce you to other college student co-workers, but it’ll help give you the push you need to get out of your shell. Not only will you be able to connect to your co-workers, but you’ll also hopefully form a good relationship with your boss, who can be a great reference to have to future jobs.
Get your professors on your side
I know from personal experience that professors can be scary, but it’s all about learning how to get on their good side. As an introvert, you probably won’t be the one asking all the questions in class or chatting up your professor after the lecture, but there are lots of other ways to impress your professor and thrive in your classes. Emailing them questions or concerns is a great place to start because it shows that you’re committed to and serious about their class, something they probably don’t get from a lot of students. Also, if your professor has office hours, I highly recommend visiting them one-on-one, away from the pressure of other students’ eyes. Being an introvert should not get in the way of your success!
Remember that it’s okay to do things alone
Sometimes, the peer pressure of college can get to you. Some people can be obsessed with the idea of making friends and always having a group of people surrounding them, that they don’t even know how to act when they’re alone. I’m here to remind you that as an introvert, you probably don’t want or need that to be happy. Remember that it’s perfectly fine to do things alone, whether you’re studying in the library or getting dinner at the dining hall. You don’t need people around you at all times if you don’t want that, and I promise you no one will look at your crazy for wanting that.
Don’t be scared to put yourself out there
The final tip I have to give is something you’ve probably heard hundreds of times before. But putting yourself out there is truly how to gain some of the best experiences in college, whether it be introducing yourself to your potential new best friend or joining a club you never thought you would. I can tell you right now it won’t be easy, but it’s all about baby steps. Start by inviting a new friend to go to the dining hall with you or something else small. Before you know it, you’ll be truly thriving in college!