Are you shy? That’s ok.
It’s not easy being shy, especially in a seemingly big social scene like at university that has associated tropes and expectations around it – academic ones, social ones and professional ones too. It can be exhausting.
Since a young age I would definitely identity myself as being more of a wallflower than a lion. I would lose count on the number of times I’ve frozen up when meeting new people, analysed and worried about the way people will perceive me, lost my words or got anxious under pressure. On top of that, I would say I’m slightly introverted as well – I find meeting up with close friends or reading a good book more comforting than going out partying until dawn. The bottom line is, it isn’t always easily!
However if you’re worried about starting university, or are a student currently struggling with this, let me tell you that
Whether this is or isn’t your thing, both are totally ok (as long as you’re sensible if it’s the former!). If it isn’t, there are plenty of other ways to fun on campus. For instance I’ve gone out into Leamington and Coventry for numerous meals with friends, attended cookery and yoga classes and enjoy regularly going to Badminton sessions every week. But this isn’t just me, I know many people through my course, society circles and in my hall-block who don’t go partying regularly and much prefer committing to other activities. With the shear amount of societies you can join, there are plenty of ways to get out and have fun excluding clubbing or alcohol.
Plus you don’t even have to organise a GRAND night or event out – simply meeting up with friends at each other’s dorms, having coffee together or spending time in watching a film is much better than repeatedly spending time alone!
In the past, there have been times where my nerves had become too much to handle, especially involving large events full of people I don’t know, which means it can be tempting at times to stay within the safer haven of your comfort zone.
One of the ways I like to combat this now is to . That way I’m making a definite commitment and it gives me the motivation to complete all of my tasks for the day – as I’ve got something to look forward to!
However it’s worth noting that if you too suffer with some anxious feelings at times, , such as attending regular weekly events or going with a friend. If you have a tendency to be more shy in nature, jumping straight into the deep-end and expecting yourself to swim may be a bit overwhelming!
The big question: Will I fit in or how can I make new friends? Above all else, just be friendly and . Even if you’re not the most-confident person who can walk in and magnetise everyone in the room, doesn’t mean you won’t be able to make friends. You may meet people you only speak to once or twice – that’s ok too. It doesn’t mean that you’re unappreciative of one another nor dislike each other. Even if you’re a little more quiet and don’t have the largest social circle, you’ll find the friends you do make are friends whom you’ll have developed a closer relationship with!
If you’re arriving in halls, my top packing tip would be to . Leaving your door open for your new housemates to walk by will not only allow both of you to introduce yourselves, but also shows that you’re a welcoming and friendly face! Plus even small things like smiling, making some tea or offering a slice of cake would brighten anyone’s day – people will appreciate it!
Being in an environment where you’re meeting so many people on a daily basis may unfortunately lead to some more uncomfortable moments (silence, nervous smiling, avoiding direct eye contact). While these probably aren’t the most comfortable of situations, its ok and sometimes appropriate for silence. It doesn’t mean you’re being judged nor considered uninteresting. You’ll often find this actually makes you more likeable as a person as it shows you’re more empathetic and genuine!
Even if you arrive to university or have been spent several weeks or months here and still don’t fully feel comfortable, please believe me when I say it does get better. For myself settling in did take some time and was a struggle at first, but as you keep making small incremental steps it only becomes easier and easier each time.
Finally don’t give yourself a hard time if you happen to have a social blunder or choke up on your own words. University is a new experience and is ALREADY a leap out of anyone’s comfort zone.