5 Tips for Introverts Transitioning to College

The transition to college is not an easy step, especially during a global pandemic. For many introverted freshmen, this move to on-campus living from online learning can be especially challenging.

One of the most important things to remember is that you’re not alone. In fact, plenty of other newcomers to the EC campus are introverts, too. Don’t love college yet like you’re “supposed” to? That’s OK if you aren’t immediately comfortable with all the change. Everyone will make friends, go to class, and decide on a major with their individual schedule.

It might help to approach the first few weeks of college as an opportunity to get settled in your new space, remembering that everyone is on their own timeline, and that there’s no need to compare your experience with those of others. 

Here are five ways you can improve your mental health as an introvert adjusting to college.

1. Mindful Movement

Being cooped up at our desks for online classes was something we have all had to adjust to this past year. When you “go to school” at your desk in your room (and also go to sleep in the same space), there might have been days where we barely even left our rooms. Luckily, we Emmanuel College residents have access to fresh air outside on campus, or off-campus in the beautiful Fenway area.

Whether you hate exercise or not, you can’t help but feel better after you take a walk around campus or take a quick jog down the street to stretch your legs and get your heart rate up. Too cold outside? Try searching a yoga video on YouTube (Yoga with Adriene or Jessica Richburg are my go-to channels) to try out in the comfort of your dorm.

Adjusting to a completely new living environment can take a toll on you mentally just as much as it can your body. Practice mindfulness by tuning in to where stress might be stored in your body. Even just a quick stretch can help loosen up the tension and break up your day. Many introverts yearn for a quiet escape from the craziness of the dorms or coursework to recharge. Exercise could be the perfect escape for introverted freshman.

2. Phone a friend

Calling a friend from home or a family member can be helpful for an introvert transitioning to college. Human connection is necessary and it's nice to talk to people who already know and understand you. Luckily for us, our favorite people are often just a click away. FaceTimes, calls, or texts are so important to staying connected during any transition, nevermind a transition during a pandemic that keeps many of us apart. As much as alone time is important for introverts, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone when you need them. This is a pivotal time for many students, and needing support is not a weakness. Anyone needing additional support can connect with professionals at the Emmanuel Campus Counseling center at 617-735-9920. 

3. Feel the feels

Let yourself feel. Your emotions are valid and should be acknowledged rather than avoided. Journaling about your thoughts, ranting your thoughts out loud on voice memos, and writing down things you're grateful for can all help ground you in situations where you may be feeling too much. Introverts like myself tend to be good at letting on too much by ourselves. Acknowledge your feelings and tend to what you need. You don’t need to have plenty of friends, there are so many introverts out there that feel the exact same, connecting with one or two can make a big difference. 

4. Implement Self Care

Self care is massively important in the transition to college. This can be anything that brings you pleasure, whether this is binging Netflix, taking a shower or washing your face, or even deep cleaning your room or reorganizing it. Taking care of ourselves and our space will only make the rest of the college transition a little easier. Being comfortable is a strength many introverts have, so use that to your advantage, make your space unique to you, as you will be spending a lot of time there.

5. Relax and Recharge

Lastly, rest is so important. There's this pressure in college to make all these friends and spend time with them all the time. While meeting new people is important, everyone is on their own path and no transition to college is quite the same. Cozy up in your favorite pjs, make some tea if you're like me, and listen to comforting music. Never feel bad for recharging and resting and make sure to recognize how hard moving to college is and how far you've come. We haven’t been in physical school in almost a year so wanting to be alone sometimes is totally okay, even without a global pandemic.

These five tips may not immediately fix the struggle of being an introvert at the beginning of college and I can testify that the beginning is definitely the worst, but after a little time it will become natural. After all, introverts thrive at college, you’re very mature and independent which is a huge strength!