An Introvert’s Guide to Navigating Ashoka

How introverted are extroverts? How extroverted are introverts? How are pretend-extroverts? How are pretend-introverts? This piece is about how introverts can/should/may be heard in a world that can’t stop talking or how they can create their own space within the frenzy that surrounds them.

Class Participation

Unfortunately, class participation weighs a significant amount at Ashoka, especially in smaller classes that are reading and discussion centric. There is no escaping it, no matter what you do. Being a first year, and used to ‘old-school’ textbook ways, makes this process seem more daunting. This can be the case with seniors in college too: finding yourself in a foundation course with 90 enthusiastic kids whose hands shoot up the moment the professor pauses to take a breath, can feel like a nightmare. But there are some ‘cheats’ that you may have adopted in order to things easier for you.

First, ignore the loudmouths. Some people that ‘always’ talk in class don’t always make sense: they just really want the ‘participation’ grade. I knew someone who would keep talking until the Teaching Assistant told him to stop. This person intimidated some of us who were hesitant to speak, but once we figured out the trick - that he would talk just for the sake of it, speaking up became a lot easier.

If it helps, sitting up close in the front can make it easier to prepare yourself to speak. That way, unless you turn around, you don’t see another fifty classmates raising their hands faster than you blink. This can help eliminate hesitation and boost confidence.

Secondly, take full advantage of your discussion sessions. Since there are barely 20 people in a DS (and the strength isn’t always 20 anyway), it’s a lot easier to share your thoughts and ask your questions, and the atmosphere way more casual than classes.

The most important thing is to finish the assigned readings, and just mark some things you thought were interesting, and jot some ideas down. Just getting your work done on time is a great propeller at improving class participation.


In a campus as small as Ashoka, privacy can be hard to find. Sometimes, you just want to be alone, and not see anyone for a couple of hours, but you don’t always want to stay in your room either. The conversations we’re part of can also get overwhelming at times, and that’s something you might want a break from; introvert or extrovert.

A good way to rejuvenate is to just get out of campus for a while; going to Delhi for an exhibition, or a concert, or to a museum, or simply going to GTB Nagar to grab a bite always helps. It puts some distance between you and the kind of atmosphere that the college can periodically be engulfed in. Yes, Delhi is crowded, and it’s important to stay safe, but it gives you the break you need, even if it’s only for a few hours. From personal experience, going to a library in Delhi is an extremely relaxing escapade.

Long weekends are gifts in disguise for introverts. Quite a few students are out for those three or four days, and the campus becomes much emptier and quieter. For those of us who love staying on our own, and getting that ‘me’ time - it can be a blessing.

There are some areas between the Dhaba and the Sports Block that aren’t occupied very often. Since the campus is our own safespace, the benches and lawns are a great place to be by yourself, watch people play sports, or just sit out and delve into nothingness - something we hardly get to do at Ashoka.


Ashoka may not have too many parties in a semester, but the ones that usually happen are always planned at a pretty big scale, such as the Fresher’s party, or a summer/winter ball. In situations like these, where there is so much external stimulation, it can be hard for introverts to have a good time. Some may feel uncomfortable with the noise that socializing harbours. Some do not enjoy the party as they hardly know anyone there, and others might feel exhausted after a certain amount of social interaction. Many of us may also face the obligation to hang around for a long time, self-loathing ourselves for the fact that we hardly interact with people anyway.

The first step to actually enjoying parties on campus is to not feel guilty about not going, or leaving the party early. You are not obligated to stay there for anyone else. Understand yourselves, be comfortable with your limits, and follow them. Sometimes it might be a good idea to push yourselves beyond these limits, but it needn’t be the case always. Going with your close friends is another means of making the party more enjoyable. Having two or three people around you makes it easier for you to let loose and ‘chill’. Another added benefit is that they understand your limits, and wouldn’t mind if you say you need to leave the party early. Sometimes, they might leave with you, too!

While you might feel as though you’re the only introvert on campus, and everyone else is a party-loving extrovert, that really isn’t the case. There are many introverts on campus, and we all have different ways of being introverts. Actually, being introverted or extroverted isn’t as mutually exclusive as we think it is. There is nothing wrong in being quieter than most, or preferring solitude and books. Susan Cain, author of Quiet and Quiet Power, has a lot to say on this subject:

Susan Cain: The power of introverts | TED Talk |

Edited by Vedika Gupta

All images are the courtesy of our amazing photographer Sanjna Mishra.