College is a fun and exciting time to navigate adulthood and make memories. It can also be an anxiety-induced and stressful journey as you try to get your life together and make something of yourself. For some of us more than others, the anxiety outweighs the excitement. In this case, by ‘some of us’ I’m referring to a specific personality type. People with this personality type usually receive a lot of criticism for being ‘loners’ or ‘anti-social.’ I’m sure with that minimal description you can guess what personality I’m talking about, introverts. Many people struggle to figure introverts out and often end up having misconceptions about them.
A common misconception I’ve observed is that people think introverts don’t like people. We don’t necessarily dislike people; most introverts just prefer not being around large crowds of people. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had to explain to people that I need to spend time alone to ‘recharge’. The concept of having a low social battery seems foreign to some people. During the week, I go to work in the morning, and go to class in the afternoon and by the evening I’m physically and mentally exhausted. I like to spend the weekend by myself and mentally prepare for social interactions during the coming week. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines an introvert as a “typically reserved or quiet person who tends to be introspective and enjoys spending time alone.” The more definitions I come across the more I realize that there truly isn’t a single definition that can perfectly describe what an introvert is. Plenty of articles and scholars debunk the notion that introverts are quiet by nature or shy, and those notions are considered misconceptions.
I personally love to hang out with a few people at a time and have meaningful conversations. Obviously, I can’t speak for all the introverts out there but one thing most introverts will tell you is that they prefer spending time with a small group of people as opposed to a large crowd. This can be very tricky in a college setting full of fun events and activities as an introvert because on one hand I’d rather be alone and enjoy some ‘me time.’ On the other hand, I’d be curious about the events and wouldn’t mind seeing what’s going on. It’s like a tug of war debating whether to attend an event with so many people there or just stay home and see pictures of the event on social media. It may seem trivial or not that serious and I actually find it quite hilarious but the struggle is real. Fortunately for me, I’ve met other introverts who go through the same struggle, and we managed to bond because of that.
If you are an introvert trying to figure out how on earth to survive in college, there are actually survival guides that can help you. I was genuinely surprised to find so many guides when I googled ‘introverts in college’. This goes to show that introversion is a personality type that not only needs to be understood more but also needs advice on how to function in the world.