Without a doubt, attending college is one of the most stressful times for any student. For many, it is the last leg of the education triathlon and the barrier between you and the workforce. With that being the case, it is important not only to focus on your studies, but to make connections, memories, and have fun with fellow students.
But perhaps that's not you. Perhaps you're the kind of person who prefers the company of oneself, to stay at home and avoid interactions. Perhaps the word “introvert” suits you best. Clubs? “Who needs them.” Group work? “I'll do it all myself.” Parties? “Not for me! I'm just gonna eat me a big ol' bag of cheese balls!”
While this certainly is a way to get through college, it would mean taking on this journey alone, which can be pretty miserable. But, I'm not gonna sit here and lecture you on how to live your life, you do you. But for the people that may want to make a change and put themselves out there, let me give you some tips on how to do that and help you start enjoying college life as an introvert.
How to Have Fun As an Introvert in College
1. Change Your Mindset
If there's one thing to keep in mind, it's that it is, all in the mind. Interacting with people can be difficult, stressful, and unpredictable. But let's leave those fears at the door and rearrange our thinking.
Don't think of other students as just people who attend the same class or live in the same building. Think of them as people you can learn from, share experiences with, and people you can rely on if you're ever in need of help. Plus they can be great connections for future employment. Remember, you are all in the same boat that nobody wants to rock, push your imagination down and face what's in front of you.
2. Go Small
As an introvert, you may find crowds just aren’t your thing. The more people there are, the more claustrophobic you may feel, which can lead you to panic. Nobody wants to feel uncomfortable, so let’s minimize the risk by sticking to smaller gatherings.
With a smaller group, you’ll have a greater opportunity to converse with other students and see if you share the same interests. Best case, you find a group of people you connect with and can meet up with on the regular. Worst case, you die… I mean that's always the worst case isn’t it? But more realistically, you won’t click and you can go home… where you die… but probably not.
An example of where you can find smaller groups could be the people you sit with during class. You all joined the class for a reason so there’s a pretty good chance they share the same interests as you. Just try not sitting alone as tempting as it is.
3. Seek out Other Introverts
Chances are, you're more likely to find birds of a feather at these smaller gatherings. Scout the outer edges of social gatherings to find others who also prefer to treat gatherings as a spectator sport. They'll be more likely to understand your need to steer away from the spotlight and won't judge you for it.
Finally, once you have established a small group of friends, practice your social skills by inviting them over to your place for a gathering. Remember to take small steps by asking them over to your place, maybe sponsor a game night, go bowling, or go see a movie.
4. Remember to Befriend Extroverts Too
As inclined as you may be to connect only with fellow introverts, there's something to be said for making friends with extroverts. It's very much about striking that balance between getting out of your comfort zone and completely retreating.
Extroverts can help you with that balance. By having someone willing to do all the talking and interacting, you can widen your social circle by just being around them. It also helps knowing someone who understands and can stick up for you. Not to mention their communication skills just might rub off.
5. Embrace Your Alone Time
College life is different for everyone. Sometimes fraternity parties and beer pong are just — no. Absolutely not for us. So be okay with the fact that you're an introvert. You don't need to feel guilty about wanting to have ample time alone and you needn't explain yourself to anyone. Even if you do all the hard work in organizing a group you can hang out with if you don’t want to hang out then don’t.
For introverts, spending some time alone is like fuel to help you socialize later, whatever that might look like for you. Try to remember, it's not a crime to give yourself some "you" time. It will make you a happier, well-adjusted person in the long run.
Enjoy Your College Years. Just remember that the ways to have fun as an introvert in college may look different than what you’re used to seeing in movies and television. And that's a good thing!
For more great tips on college life, keep checking back with our student life blog.