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Do you need time by yourself to recharge? Well, you’re not alone — about one-third of the US population are introverts. Many people confuse this term with someone shy. A shy person worries about judgment and often avoids social settings, but an introvert in college may not want to socialize for different reasons. For them, too much socialization is draining. In addition, they prefer having a few close friendships, as opposed to a larger circle.
However, college can be filled with extroverts. Plus, professors may look for more outgoing students. So, follow these tips if you’re an introvert in college.
1. Create Boundaries
You may find yourself saying “yes” to people just to make friends. But it’s important to communicate your needs to those around you. Let them know you need time to recharge. For example, don’t force yourself to go out to a party if you need a quiet night in.
In addition, tell your roommate about your personality type. That way they can give you some space throughout the day. Before discussing your boundaries, take time to reflect on your needs. Also, be sure to explain why they are important to you.
2. Join a Club
Joining a club is a fun way for an introvert in college to meet new people. Those who dislike small talk, now have mutual interests to discuss. Plus, clubs allow you to socialize in a smaller group setting. Another benefit is club meetings or events only last a few hours, so they are easier to commit to.
3. Don’t Try to Go to Every Event
Often college students experience FOMO (the fear of missing out). They see pictures online of friends out having fun. But keep in mind social media doesn’t tell the whole story. Plus, you need to take time to recharge for your mental health.
So, get off your phone and do a quiet activity you enjoy, like reading. There are also apps, such as Moment, that help you track your usage and set limits.
4. Sit In the Front of the Classroom
A lecture hall can make an introvert in college uncomfortable. Sitting up front provides less distraction, making it easier to concrete. When you’re in the back more people are moving around and blocking the instructor. Plus, the stimulation from others can drain your energy, decreasing your focus. Make sure to arrive early, so you can pick your seat.
If your college has online classes, consider taking one. These allow you to stay within your comfort zone.
5. Schedule Your Time Effectively
Managing your time in college can be tricky. As an introvert, you want to plan your downtime. For example, set time in between classes to go back to your dorm. This will give you time to decompress before your next social activity. You can do something calming like mediation. Making time for personal care is vital for your mental health. To help manage your time, set goals and create a to-do list.
6. Connect With Both Extroverts and Introverts
Connecting with extroverts will give you a more balanced social network. Only socializing with introverts limits your exposure to new people. If making these friendships is intimidating, start small. Get to know a classmate you sit next to or your friend’s roommate. Keep in mind it’s still good to connect with other introverts. They will understand your quiet nature.
7. Use Technology
Some introverts prefer written communication to verbal. So, take advantage of texting or emailing whenever possible. For example, you could email your professor a question instead of asking after class. That way you can enjoy some quiet time and conserve your energy. Then you will be more engaged when you need to attend social events.
8. Eat Meals During Off-Peak Times
Crowded dining halls can feel overwhelming. Consider eating when your cafeteria first opens up or around closing time. This allows you to minimize your social interaction. Also, keep in mind it’s okay to eat alone. Often there is a stigma against eating by yourself. Yet at college, everyone is too preoccupied. Therefore, use meal times as a chance to unwind.
9. Carry Around Headphones
When you’re in a crowded place, conversations can make you feel tired. Wearing headphones helps you block out the noise and focus inward. Earphones are useful in your dorm room as well. If you have an extroverted roommate, it may be harder to study. Therefore, buy yourself a nice pair of noise-canceling headphones.
10. Pick a Designated Spot in the Library
You can’t reserve a seat in the library, but you can scout out locations ahead of time. Finding a seat can feel nerve-wracking for introverts. In a crowded area, it seems like all eyes are on them. Having a plan of where you want to sit will take some of the attention off you. Look for a quiet spot, which is usually found on the higher levels.
How to Be an Introvert in College
College is an adjustment for everyone. Yet, introverts can sometimes feel alone. So, follow these tips to be a successful introvert in college.