6 Pieces of Advice For the Struggling College Introvert

second year aysha jerald

photo by stokes dunavan

photo by stokes dunavan

When Your Roommate Asks You to Go Out With Them, Say Yes! I know it will pain you to do so. I know you planned to re-watch The Office. I know Fortnite is practically calling your name. I know that putting on pants and making yourself look presentable on a Tuesday night is that last thing you want to do. While it’ll be easy to tell your roommate no, still say yes. Truth is, there are only so many times they will ask before they give up on you entirely. Act now, or regret it later.

  1. If You’re Standing At A Bus Stop And Spot Someone You Know From Class Or Your Dorm Or A Club You’ve Just Joined, Go Talk To Them. Do not assume that they will see you, walk up, and start the conversation. Like you, they will probably make brief eye contact and proceed to find solitude in their phones. Fight the anxiety inside of you, take a deep breath, and allow the “Hey” to flow out of your mouth with ease. If you must, begin the conversation by asking about the weather or complimenting them on their outfit. You can even throw a little sarcasm in your retorts-- but don’t forget to laugh from time to time, and most of all, reassure yourself that awkward silence is, in fact, a socially acceptable concept (that which has been in the friendship-making game longer than you have).

  2. For The Love Of All Things, Speak Up! You’re not mute. You know the answer to that chemistry problem. You know the realistic implications of that poem. You know the correct formula for that equation. Yet, whenever your professor asks, you look away, scribble in your notebook, or pick at your nails. Sometimes, you even contort your expression into one of confusion just so the professor can note your oblivion. For those reasons, I challenge you to speak up. If you’re confident in yourself, there’s nothing to lose. Don’t let laziness, indifference, or fear stop you from showing off the embodiment of intelligence that you are.

  3. Don’t Make A Habit Of Staying In On Friday Or Saturday Nights. Granted, this doesn’t mean that you have to go out and party like it’s 1999 every weekend. This doesn’t equate to going back to the folk’s house either. Despite its appeal, don’t let yourself be alone. Ask that person you sit next to in class if they want to catch a movie. Grab some neighbors and host a game night. Convince your roommate that the Tate activities are worthwhile and go check them out. Whether it’s doing something or nothing, don’t let yourself do it alone.

  4. Please, Don’t Compare Yourself To Others. By doing this, you will drive yourself insane. Everyone is at a different stage in their life. Just because he seems to have a hundred more friends than you, doesn’t mean you’re a loner. Just because she goes to more parties than you, doesn’t mean you’re a failure. You’re neither. You’re an introvert. And, let’s get real. There’s no way you could ever remember a hundred names, and we both know how uncomfortable you’d be at that party.

  5. Know When To call It Quits. If you feel yourself becoming tired or exhausted, shut down. After a long day of exerting your personality to the max, it’s okay to take some time apart. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Recognize your limitations and be proud of all the work you’ve accomplished. If you’re one of those introverts who overly push themselves to do or be better, understand that the most successful people in the world didn’t do it all in one day. Treat yourself to something sweet, turn up the music, relish in those canceled plans, and take that nap you’ve been thinking about practically all day long.

Stay true to who you are, and level-up if you must. There is an armada of people out there who are prepared to mock and ridicule your introversion, but you will be your greatest enemy if you let them tear down your defenses. So hold your chin up, my fellow introvert, and play your cards right.

You’ve got this.