The transition to university can be daunting. Coupled with being more of an introvert, it can sometimes feel more nerve-racking.
Meeting new people
Once you have arrived, there begins a process of meeting new people. Flatmates, coursemates, and a whole range of staff (let alone the social aspect of club nights and societies). Although for many students this is the highlight of university life, it’s nice to know that there are similar introverts heading to university or already on campus. They are probably just as apprehensive.
When you first come to university (and throughout your studies), you will realise there are so many opportunities the university offers. These can include societies, volunteering and more, all requiring social commitments. These can lead to some amazing friendships and memories you’ll keep forever. However, all of these new opportunities can seem overwhelming for an introvert. It can lead to a concern that you might be missing out or being excluded if you don’t attend every social event. Additional pressure to go out with your new flatmates may make you feel obliged to go out (even if you’d rather stay at home and spend some time to yourself).
Tips for finding the balance
Despite these worries, I am here to alleviate the stress. I can assure you that your mental well-being is more important than any social event. Spending a quiet afternoon to yourself can be more beneficial in the long run. In most cases, people tend to forget the nights out anyways. Although coming out of your comfort zone is encouraged, there is no need to feel pressured into it. Finding a balance is important. Here are some good methods I found worked:
- Planning to go out in advance reduces the stress of last minute decisions. You can plan recovery time after long nights out
- Choosing a limit to how many social events you will attend. This not only helps you organise your free time, it gives you a chance to rest and relax
- Understand that although, at the time, many of these social events seem crucial to being happy at university, a few weeks later they are often lost to history
- If you don’t feel comfortable going out for club nights or social events, there are places such as the library or cafes around the university. You can easily avoid noisy house parties or pre drinks if it’s not for you!
- It may take time to make friends who you really feel yourself with. Learning a language with the LFA (Languages for All), attending societies you are interested in, or talking to a wide variety of course mates allows you to find like minded friends who will understand your personality and preferences.
When speaking to some students you may feel a little disheartened as they describe their active social life. They are going out most days a week and often try to encourage you to do the same. But it’s OK – everyone is different and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to do your own thing.
Stay true to yourself
The most important aspect is for you to stay true to yourself. Enjoy university without feeling the pressure of more outgoing coursemates or flatmates. The personality trait of being an introvert or an extrovert is a scale and anyone can land anywhere in between. When you lean more towards being an introvert, you can find all these social interactions a little bit more difficult at university. You can find yourself dreaming of time where you can recharge your batteries, watch Netflix and catch up on sleep. I’m here to reassure you that university is a place for everyone and it will soon feel like home.