Being an extreme introvert in a world of extroverts is tough. It can be difficult to make new friends or have your ideas taken seriously. It’s even more difficult in college, when you are away from home for the first time and finding yourself. This guide will offer some tips on how to get through college when you’re an extreme introvert.
Join a Club
Extreme introverts are often more comfortable when they can have deep conversations about topics that are of interest to them. You may find, then, that a club is an ideal social setting for you. You already know everyone there is passionate about the same thing you are. Whether you are interested in video games, other cultures or sports, your campus likely has clubs dedicated to your interest. There might even be a club specifically for introverts.
Live in the Library
The library at your university is a great place to study quietly, which has the added benefit of boosting your literacy. Because of this, the library is a great place to meet other introverts in a calmer setting. You may be working on the same assignment as someone else or studying for the same test. A relationship can then blossom naturally if you choose to study together. You can also use this time to think ahead to class discussion and plan what you might say. This will make it more likely you will speak up in class.
Know When to Leave
It can be tempting to try and force yourself to be more social by hanging out with friends or going to parties. However, this can be very stressful for introverts. While it is good to try new things and expand your horizons, you also need to know your limits. Don’t be afraid to leave an event early. If necessary, plan for transportation so you won’t get stuck somewhere. The new people you meet will soon come to understand that you simply need time to recharge after social events.
Attend School Online
If traditional, in-person college just isn’t for you, online education is a very valid alternative. You will still get to interact with your teacher and classmates, but it will be entirely on your terms. That added online buffer may even make you more likely to engage in discussion. It will also give you plenty of time to formulate your thoughts the way a physical classroom does not. There are many different kinds of degrees offered online, from creative writing to a degree for business administration.
Introverts can have a harder time adjusting to the college environment than extroverts. However, that shouldn’t stop you from having the full college experience. Know your limits but challenge them a little, and you should be satisfied with the results.
Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.