Freshers’ Week as an introvert, boy what an experience. In the weeks leading up to York Freshers’, I felt the dread accumulate in my stomach. The idea of being surrounded by a bunch of scary, drunk strangers terrified me. However, when I arrived I was pleasantly surprised. My housemates were lovely, and no-one seemed to mind that I wasn’t so keen on drinking – in fact I wasn’t alone. I went to a couple of the clubbing nights. Although weren’t my cup of tea, weren’t too bad and I was glad to have experienced them. I didn’t feel pressured into going out every night, but when I did go out, everyone made an effort to try to introduce themselves to the people around them (this consisted of lots of “WHAT DID YOU SAY? SORRY I DIDN’T HEAR YOU!” over very loud music).
I had built Freshers’ week up to be a monster. When it actually came to it, I realised it was actually just one incredibly quick week of my life that had only a minor significance over some of the others. The highlight was getting to know my housemates and realising that there wasn’t really anything to worry about. You don’t have to go out every night (or at all) to get to know everyone. You won’t get excluded from the circle if you stay in (providing you do make an effort to socialise during the day and when everyone else is in too). People won’t peer-pressure you into doing something you don’t want to. This has been my experience, I know that I can’t talk for everyone, perhaps I’m just lucky.
It’s important to note that when things slow down, when you’re in your room alone; you might feel homesick, you might feel lost, you might feel unsure of your choice to move here. But that’s expected – moving to university is a big life decision and a big change. I definitely did, and do still feel like that from time to time.
My top three tips are:
- Don’t hide in your room all the time: you’re going to be living with these people for a minimum of 30 weeks, to prevent long-term awkwardness make the effort to talk to them – even if you don’t become lifelong friends, it’s good to have a friendly face around
- Step out of your comfort zone: as an introvert, talking to new people and introducing yourself is terrifying, but even just going out once may be better than expected and lead to making friends and bonding with your housemates. Equally though, don’t permanently step out of your comfort zone – if you really don’t want to go out, don’t. No one will mind and it is important that you do what is best for you.
- Take all the opportunities you can: University will offer you lots of opportunities to volunteer, get involved with societies, go out with housemates and work from the get go. Make sure to be on the lookout for these and to take as many of them as you want to, as they will allow you to meet new friends, give you something to look forward to and will boost your CV. If you have doubts but want to do something, don’t let them stop you.
Worrying is inevitable. If you’re anything like me, you won’t come to university without fear, no matter what anyone says. I can only hope that my experience can make you feel a little less anxious; so that when you do feel worried, you will have the hope that everything will be okay, and it probably will be 🙂