Enjoying the university experience while being introverted
Before coming to university, we all have prejudgements about what it’ll be like. A major thought of mine was imagining university to focus a lot on nightlife, social events, maintaining your ‘voice’ and opinion as a student and being a ‘people person’. When imagining the type of person that might exert these features, the person that comes to my mind is someone extroverted- outgoing, loud, popular- you know what I mean.
Being a more introverted person, I did worry about how I would fit in at university. Don’t get me wrong, I love socialising and being around the company of others, I enjoy nights out, I enjoy class discussions. But I also value alone time, and often feel socially ‘drained’ if I’m around other people for hours at a time. This means that I enjoy nights in, and won’t always be the one you hear chatting across the room.
So, being in second year, I thought I’d share how I cope with being more introverted, and what this has meant for me being a university student…
1. Social events: During first year, in the process of making friends and being an inherent people pleaser, I definitely sometimes socialised when I didn’t always feel like it. I soon learnt that this just made me feel more exhausted. To cope more with this, this year, when I feel exhausted and need time to relax, I say no, and my friends always understand. In fact, a lot of them are similar to me and enjoy nights in too, enjoying each other’s company. My advice would be, as simple as it sounds, look after yourself and listen to your body! Also, if you are yet to find friends with similar interests, give it time!
2. Being an ‘outgoing’ character: Last year, meeting loads of new, confident people did make me feel quite intimidated. However, I met a few friends who were actually very similar to me, and I soon realised that not everyone is going to be the loud type. I have started to learn that I am who I am, and just because I’m not always the loudest in the room, it doesn’t mean that I have any less to offer! Being more reserved can also make you a good listener, so don’t be fooled- there are good qualities of being quiet too!
3. Lack of society involvement: I can hold my hands up, and say that I’m not the best at attending societies. Last year, I felt really guilty for signing up and only attending the first 2 sessions of a society. I wondered what my problem was, as everyone seemed to be part of a society and loved it. This year, I’ve been quite similar- signed up, attended events in term 1 and now it’s a distant memory! I try not to feel guilty now though, you don’t have to be involved that everything university offers! Societies are there if you want to become involved, they are not a necessity, yet many feel that they are due to how widely advertised they are across university.
So, while university might be advertised as a haven for extroverts, there’s a place for us introverts too! You just need to tailor your lifestyle to what makes you happy and comfortable, while realising that what makes one person excited will make you feel the opposite! Focus on your own journey!