Survival Guide for the Introverted College Student
BY LORRAINE McKINNEY
For many people, college is as much about the experience and socializing as it is about getting an education. This is not the case for introverts. In fact, as much as they desire a good education, college life can be incredibly stressful for introverted people. Introverts are generally shy people, and don’t always do well in an atmosphere where they are expected to join in and take part, such as college. But, this doesn’t mean that introverts can’t have amazing college experiences. They just have to find ways to make it work for them.
- Do what You Love – First of all, it is time to dive right into whatever you are truly passionate about. College is a great time to discover your talents and what you really love doing, and expand on them. You can do this on your own, and you don’t necessarily have to take part in groups in order to do what you love.
- Find an Extroverted Friend – Often, introverts and extroverts make the best of friends, because they tend to balance out one another. An extrovert can help to push you out of your comfort zone and help you start enjoying life more, and you can help the extrovert learn how to be more comfortable being alone with themselves.
- Participate Quietly – Unfortunately, classroom participation is often necessary to pass courses, and this can be difficult for the introvert. Start getting into the habit of sitting at the front of the class. Ask one question or make one comment per class. You don’t have to be loud, because you are at the front and you will be heard by the professor. You will have your classroom participation marks without having to feel like you are making a spectacle of yourself.
- Smile – Even if you aren’t in the best of moods, smile as much as you can. “You can’t help but be in a better mood when you are smiling, and that is going to rub off on others. It may even help you to start becoming more outgoing, because when you smile at people, some are inevitably going to want to talk to you, and you will start getting more and more used to taking part in conversations with others,” says Dr. Ella Dekhtyar from Broadway Family Dental.
- Find Your Voice – Just because you are shy, it doesn’t mean that you can’t make yourself be heard. You just have to find your voice. It may be that you are able to express yourself better in the form of a blog or social media. Find ways to express your ideas. The more good feedback you get, the more you will want to express yourself. In time, it may even help you to come out of your shell a bit and get more involved with others.
- Join a Small Group – “If there is a club or a group on campus that interests you, and it isn’t a large organization with a lot of people, sign up for it. You can still be an introvert, but now you are also going to be interacting with others occasionally, which is what you need to make you feel more rounded and happy,” says Dr. Mila Cohen from Pediatricdentalnj.com. When meetings or get-togethers are over, you can go right back to being your introverted self.
- Find Your Circle of Friends – No matter how introverted one is, they still need a close circle of friends. Now is the time for you to figure out who you want to be in your circle. You don’t have to go out and make a ton of new friends. Start out by hanging out with one or two people who you really like, and go from there.
Lorraine McKinney is an academic tutor and elearning specialist.