Being introverted in college can be difficult; there are ways that the world is just more engaging for extroverts than it is for introverts. Unfortunately, people who are more outgoing or socially active are just more likely to be what professors are looking for.
In case you’re unsure what I’m talking about, here are some basic definitions and characteristics of introverts and extroverts. An extrovert is an outgoing, overtly expressive person, whereas an introvert is a shy, reticent person. Introverts are usually characterized by their loner status and resistance to social activity, as well as their usual self-isolation. Extroverts tend to be lively and engaged in social activities without prompting, tending to take part in activities (whether in the classroom or in day-to-day life) readily.
Though there can be social introverts or shy extroverts, they tend to stick to their roles. Thus, college is not necessarily best-suited for shy people. From group projects to classroom discussions, it can be difficult to engage. And though professors should be taking the time to consider students and their personalities (and typically, Cabrini University professors tend to), that isn’t the case all of the time. Therefore, it is often up to an introverted student to figure out how to survive in college by themselves. Even though I identify as an extrovert, I recognize that this can be a detriment to introverted students, and so, therefore, am trying to engage my fellow students to the best of my ability. To help my introverted classmates out, I have written a short introvert’s guide to Cabrini University. There are steps you can take in order to better engage yourself without putting stress on your mental health!
Don’t be afraid to ask to tag along. If you’re friends with extroverts, they can often be running around to campus events (at which Cabrini University there are many) and, though they don’t mean to leave you out, they might assume you don’t want to go. If you want to go out, ask! A good extroverted friend will watch out for you and take you with them to parties, just as long as they know what you want/need.
Establish boundaries. If you need to go to your room to decompress, that is A-Okay! If your room is off-limits as a hangout spot, that’s okay too. Just make sure to establish these boundaries with friends and to stand your ground. Extroverts may feel as if they don’t take up as much room as they actually do, so when you need your space, all you need to do is say so; your real friends will back off no questions asked. You’re not being rude at all, I promise!
You may be asked to do things that make you uncomfortable at times. Unfortunately, this is part of college culture; things such as icebreakers, class introductions, and presentations are often expected of you as soon as the first day. Although there’s not much you can do to prevent this, there are some little tricks to get you through it. Try focusing on your friends from the class, or pretend you’re talking to a smaller group. Just remember: it will be over soon, it is okay to be scared, and you undoubtedly got this!
It’s okay to skip out on non-required activities. If some of the orientation activities make you nervous, though it is fun to go and make friends, it is okay to skip out! You don’t have to go unless you want to go. Cabrini is so centered around community that you will find your place to be, even if you don’t go to certain events.
Your friends will find you. It’s terrifying to go to school and expect not to have any friends, but I promise, you will find some! Whether through class or through your neighbors, whether they approach you or you find the courage to approach them, things will work themselves out.
At the end of the day, Cabrini takes care of its own: introverts included!