Whether a freshman or a senior, some people just prefer not being social butterflies or struggle to even muster a simple, “Hi! Can you believe this weather?” to the people they see everyday. As someone who has thought in mid-conversation, “Roll a 20 and you’ll charm them with your super high charisma,” (a Dungeons & Dragons reference), I know what it’s like to be “socially awkward.”
No matter where you are, there are some things to keep in mind when it comes to making friends, being social and trying to maintain your nerdy side without having to conform to things such as being a football fanatic, wearing Vineyard Vines or being part of some life-changing club at your college.
It’s Okay Not To Go To Every Social Event
College forces you into some unavoidable social events—since they want you to “network” and “bond”—but rest assured, getting s**t-faced at parties is avoidable. You probably aren’t missing too much at that one football game where your school gets destroyed. If all the new people you meet are going to a super-crowded party, you don’t have to go; there are going to be a gazillion chances down the road to hang out with people. Chances are that a good chunk of people are just chilling in their rooms waiting for the next season of Orange is the New Black to come out on Netflix.
You Aren’t Going To Befriend Everybody
Colleges are large enough social cesspools that if you hate someone (hopefully you don’t) chances are you can avoid them. No one is going to force you into hanging out with annoying Jeff or self-absorbed Jane, so don’t feel pressured into being friends with everyone. Focus on finding the people that might share the same interests as you.
Be Yourself Because You’re Awesome
Coming into college, you don’t need to change every single thing about yourself: You can still make strange gestures in public, speak way too much about potatoes and kittens, get too excited about everything and dislike overcrowded parties. College gives you the chance to explore the person you want to be, find people who can relate to you and really develop long lasting connections. (Keep in mind that as Barney Stinson once said, “In my body where the shame gland should be, there is a second awesome gland. True story.”)
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
If you sing exclusively in the shower don’t worry, there might be hope for you trying out for an a capella group (because we all want to channel out our inner Idina Menzel, or as John Travolta called her ‘Adele Dazeem’); you’ll fall right into people who share a common interest. If all else fails, you can still sneak away from the first general meeting without being noticed—probably.
Remind Yourself That You’re Unique
Some people will lose their inner Ash Ketchum in college and give up their interest in Pokemon to fit in, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Make sure that you’re giving yourself the time you need to de-stress and get away from people; or time for you to continue pursuing the interests that you’ve always had—like challenging gym leaders for badges. If you aren’t, you probably won’t feel comfortable enough to embrace your own quirks and be 110% yourself.
At the end of the day, we come back to our rooms and sleep soundly. No one’s here to judge you and if they are, they’re missing out on someone who’s a great person—(just by reading my article right now I know you’re good people). Making sure to understand your limits, especially socially, at college is important since you don’t want that young “sparkling razzle dazzle” flame inside of you to die down anytime soon.