What Is It Like Being An Introvert In Your First Year In University

Being an introverted freshman in a world that is entirely new to you is no easy task!
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Created by Daniel

Published on Sep 13, 2021

“Hey, why are you always so quiet?”

I am pretty sure that every introvert has been asked this question a couple of times. I wonder how we are supposed to answer that question. Well, you can not go on explaining to everyone you meet that you are an introvert, so they should just be comfortable with your silence as there is nothing more to it.

The big question is, is an introvert’s university experience different? Short answer: yes. Once I was done with high school, which had seemed to have lasted an entire lifetime, I could not wait to get into uni like every other teenager. Well, I was so excited that I had forgotten one important thing about me, I am an introvert! So it was definitely going to be hard for me interacting with new people.

Reality hit me when we had our first orientation meeting as freshmen. There were a couple of meetings spread out throughout the first week. Thinking that it was a good idea, for the first meeting, I decided that I would arrive late, you know, to avoid social interactions. Big mistake. For one, everyone was already seated, so all eyes were on me. Ok, it was probably not like that in reality, but it definitely felt like it. Either way, the walk to my seat was one of the longest in my life. 

I slowly got to meet my coursemates when classes began, and as expected, social interactions were kept to a minimum. Around that time, I had happened to be reading Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. Susan had many great points in her book, but the one that stood out for me was that introversion is not a problem with your personality that needs fixing.

For me, this meant that I didn’t have to pretend to talk more than I usually did just to make a good first impression. Honestly, the first couple of months were difficult because even though I am an introvert, I enjoy having some social interactions. 

Let’s fast forward to 2021, 3 years after I joined the university. Now I have made a couple of friends, and some of them have become close friends. Honestly, I cannot give you a handbook of ‘the art of making friends as an introvert,’ but the best advice I could give you is to be yourself, and you will find people you naturally get along with.

Another thing that helped me a lot was talking about my interests. I don’t mean opening up about your hopes and dreams to total strangers, at least not yet. This could be talking about your favorite movies, games, which YouTubers you love to watch, etc. The idea is to show people that you are approachable. I understand if this seems like a lot of work, trust me I do, but building good relationships with classmates is very important, not only for your social life, but also for your academic life.

You will be interacting with many new people through group projects, online group chats, etc. However, remember that the decision of who you would like to be your friend falls on you. And for the most part, it happens naturally, without you expecting it.

All in all, being an introverted freshman in a world that is entirely new to you is no easy task. But as difficult as it may be in the early stages, always remember that it does get better. 

And please, don’t ever stop being yourself; the world will adjust!

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