College creates a great space to meet new people and make new memories. Sound exciting? For introverts, it may sound more nerve-wracking than exhilarating. Although it may sound intimidating, being an introvert at college comes with plenty of positives. Read on for some tips that can help all you introverted students make the most of your college experience.
How do you know if you’re an introvert?
For years, I thought introverts simply didn’t use their people skills or talked much. This is not always the case. Introverts gain energy by spending time alone and lose energy in social gatherings. We all feel that way sometimes, right? Despite the common misconceptions, introverts can look like the shy kid in the corner or the bold person anyone can talk to.
“Some people think that being introverted means being anti-social, and I don’t think that’s the case at all. I love people, I love my friends and I love being around them. With that said, I do need a lot of alone time after being around them,” Drake University senior Elena Kernen said.
If you feel the most energized when you spend time alone, then you might be an introvert.
Continue reading for five tips on surviving as an introvert in college.
1. Schedule alone time
Each week, add alone time to your planner. Whether you take a specific time of day to spend by yourself or designate a specific activity to do alone, this prioritizes your needs. This helps avoid the frantic search for free time at the end of the week when you’re at your wits ends. Panic feels avoidable, but just scheduling out your day, finding any gaps and blocking those out for time alone before the week starts can make a world of difference. Plus, it gives you the excuse to go planner shopping.
“I can have a lot of alone time when I study during the day and when I get back to my room at night. I like studying alone, so when no one is available during the day, I take that time to go study by myself,” South Dakota State University freshman Reagan Black said.
Correspond your alone time with tasks like studying or running errands. If you do these tasks every day, then you are guaranteed alone time.
2. Communicate with your friends
Communication matters. Be up front with your friends and tell them the importance of alone time in your life. Explain that to feel healthy and joyful—and actually enjoy the time that you spend with them—you need to charge your social battery. Most people will completely understand, but you should communicate when you need that space away from others. We know spooky season arrived, but no one likes to be ghosted.
3. Find introverted friends
I guarantee you that introverts fill your campus. You might even benefit from finding these new friends who share your introverted-ness with you. If you become friends with someone who also requires that essential alone time, you don’t need to worry about the constant party invites or disappointed looks when you decide to stay in. Or, you could be alone together. Anyone else sit on FaceTime in silence?
“Sometimes I can still be around a friend who is an introvert and still feel like I’m recharging. Because they are also trying to recharge at the same time,” Kernen said.
Maintaining a friendship becomes much easier if you both understand each other’s need for space.
4. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone Occasionally.
As an introvert, shutting yourself in your dorm room and never making any effort to see anyone or do anything becomes easy. This may seem like paradise to some, but make sure to make the most out of every season! This means branching out, meeting people and making memories. Every now and then, push yourself to go to an event or spend time with a group of people. Go on a coffee date with a friend or go out on a Friday night with a group to a local bar. Don’t fear stepping out of your comfort zone in college! Especially since college offers an environment where you can do that gradually—and, with no pressure.
5. Know your limits.
Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone can benefit you, but you need to know your limits. If you fill your schedule with things that drain you rather than fill you, you might experience that burnout.
“If I don’t have enough alone time, I will be exhausted and crabby. I will want to do nothing at all,” Emmaus Bible College freshman Emma Holtan said.
Your mental health matters, and you need to take that into consideration when choosing how to spend your time. Rather than spending time with others to the point of exhaustion, make sure that you are taking care of your needs while still getting out there! We can’t stay inside all the time (even if that’s what we feel like doing sometimes).