When I was a freshman at MSU (time flies), I was shy and quiet. I had graduated high school in May of 2017, but got admitted for January of 2018. I was the quiet 18 year old who missed home more than anything, even though it was only an hour and a half away. I kept a suitcase packed with a small amount of clothes for the first few weeks because I wanted to come home every weekend. I came home nearly every weekend of my first semester of college. It was surprising, since Michigan State was my dream college, and I had worked so hard to get in. The sudden idea of being alone and away from my family was a huge shock for me. My first morning of classes, I cried extremely hard in the shower because everything was so new. I almost considered transferring back to a college that was in my hometown. I am glad that I didn’t do that though, and I got used to MSU after a few weeks.
During my freshman semester, I hardly got involved in anything. I barely got to know my roommate. I went to my classes, ate at the dining hall, did my homework, and watched Hulu in my free time. After about a month, once I started figuring out how to navigate and such, I felt more comfortable in my surroundings. However, I did not actively try to make friends. I didn’t get involved in any clubs or activities, which I highly regret. Of course, once sophomore year rolled around, I was completely used to MSU. It wasn’t until then that I realized how many clubs, cool classes, and activities were offered. I didn’t even know that UAB (University Activities Board) craft nights existed! Crafts are right up my alley. For some reason, I had assumed that I had to be in a sorority to have fun, so I relied on my solitude.
I am really glad that I got more involved during my sophomore year of college. Here are some things that I would’ve done, and some things I would advise new, introverted freshmen to do. Keep in mind that these are mostly non-pandemic activities! I understand it is very different right now for college students during the pandemic.
Get Facebook, Instagram, and other social media!
I am so glad that I downloaded Facebook because there are so many groups you can join. It is so easy to be notified of events that are going on around campus.
Meet people in your classes.
Ask people if they want to join you at the dining hall. I found that a lot of people in college were down to eat or hang out, and they weren’t awkward about it at all.
Go to craft nights!
Crafts are cool activities for introverts. Craft nights at any college can be really fun. They are also usually free.
Take walks around campus, study in various spots, ride the bus around… I did this a lot when I lived in Landon Hall. I lived right across from a large field, so I would go outside, sit on a blanket, and do homework.
Explore Grand River/off campus shops:
At MSU, there are so many cool stores and restaurants on Grand River Avenue. It’s always fun to just go into stores like the Student Book Store or Target to kill time.
Actively look for clubs you are interested in.
Do your research! If there is a club or topic that you are interested in, look into it. Google it and ask around to see if it exists. Sometimes there are small clubs that you really have to look for.
Check your MSU email.
I cannot stress this one enough. You will always get emails about clubs and activities that might interest you. During my first semester, I signed up for “Blind Date With a Book” with Sigma Tau Delta, where we exchanged wrapped up books. It was so much fun.
Check the flyers on bulletin boards in the buildings.
In the halls where class takes place, there are always flyers advertising opportunities to join clubs, volunteer places, and more. You might find something new that you didn’t know you liked posted on there.
Apply for jobs!
There are many websites where you can apply for on campus jobs. This can be a good way to meet new people and explore new work opportunities. Looking back, I wish I worked at the dining hall.
If you go off campus or have the ability to drive places, explore!
When we lived on campus, a few friends and I used to take the bus to go thrifting or to go to movies. That was an experience in and of itself! I am now off campus, so I am able to explore more places around town.
Most of all, get out there and explore new places, activities, and opportunities. Your time at college will fly by, and you don’t want to regret not doing much. Take risks, but don’t do anything you don’t feel comfortable with!