Do you prefer to spend time alone or in smaller groups? Does your ideal night consist of Netflix or reading a book? Do social situations drain your energy quickly? Chances are you’re probably an introvert. As an introvert myself, I can tell you that it can be difficult at times, especially living in an extrovert’s ideal world! However, being an introvert is the best. Let’s face it – we are pretty awesome individuals.
There are many different types of introverts and characteristics that come with them. But introversion essentially means that you prefer to spend your energy on mental rather than physical activities. Introverts crave solitude, prefer more quiet environments, and tend to personally reflect more often than others. As much as I would love to go and on about how great introverts are, I would like to focus primarily on how introverts can better handle University life.
As we know, University is a massive pool of stimulation and social opportunities and situations. At times, this can be quite overwhelming for anyone, but especially so for an introvert. Most of the time when these social situations arise, we may tend to desperately want to RETREAT! Trust me, I know. I’ve felt the need to run out of a few large lectures myself. So, for my fellow introverts, here are some ways in which we can “survive” in University!
1. Be True To Yourself
As I mentioned before, we live in a society that tends to favor extroverted personalities over all others. This can be quite frustrating for introverts especially when it comes to being misunderstood by the extroverts, such as when your friends are trying to get you out to party but you’d rather stay home. Perhaps you are labeled “boring” and teased for your lack of interest. But, my fellow introverts, it is always better to listen to yourself and what you truly want. Do not feel ashamed or angry at the fact that parties or large social gatherings may not be for you. After all, introverts tend to thrive more in quieter places, whereas extroverts need louder and more social places. Explain to your extroverted friends that you enjoy social activities but you prefer them to be smaller and more intimate. Suggest fun activities that you can ALL enjoy. You may feel left out at times but stick to doing what makes you happy, even if it doesn’t include University social “ideals”. So, grab your book or whatever feeds your soul and enjoy that quiet night in!
2. Join Clubs On-Campus
I know this is easier said than done but I truly recommend looking into some clubs or group activities being offered on-campus. Most of these clubs tend to be small, fun and very welcoming. This gives you the opportunity to get to know some people with similar interests in a calm and structured way. There are so many clubs here at Brock and being a part of something you care about can make a big difference to your time at University. Who knows, maybe you will make some great friends in the process, extroverted or introverted.
3. Practice Makes Perfect
Trust me, there will be many times within your University career that you unfortunately will be expected to be more extroverted. Whether in seminars, lectures or group projects, there will be times where you will be expected to voice your opinions. From my experience, most introverts but not all hate public speaking. I know I do. It took me a long time to get used to being in front of strangers and to present my ideas. However, I can truly say that although it will still be nerve-wracking, the more you do it and the more you practice it, the easier it will get. Since introverts prefer to reflect and think before we speak, we have a sort of advantage of being able to fully form our thoughts. Most people think presenting is about “entertaining” the audience and this can be a horrifying thought for introverts. So practice! Don’t practice entertaining, just practice talking in front of people and getting more comfortable with that. Eventually, presentations will come a lot more naturally for you. Also, do not be afraid to explain your introverted nature to your TA’s, Professors, etc. Chances are they may be introverted themselves and understand completely that you are a student that thrives in quiet.
Some other small tips that might make University more bearable:
Sit at the front of the class: This gives you more immediate contact with the Professor, allows you to concentrate on the lecture rather than the distractions around you, and you don’t have to worry about looking at the other 200+ students in the room!
Keep in touch with family and friends: University can get lonely for the introverted person. Sometimes making friends is a little more difficult for us; therefore, keep in touch with the friends and family you do have. This will keep you steady and feed your social need without over stimulating it.
Know the secret hiding spots: When you have time next, take a walk around the University and find some quiet, unoccupied places for you to recharge between classes. This will help keep you energized and allow you to take that much needed alone time. I would tell you where I go but then we’d all be there…
So there you have it, Introverts, a small but hopefully helpful guide on how you can better manage your introversion while attending Brock. I truly do these things myself and they have made my University life a lot more fun and manageable. It will get difficult at times but just know that, as an introvert, you are awesome. And you are not alone. Even though you would prefer to be!
Check out Susan Cain’s amazing book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking