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I’ve been an introvert all my life. I didn’t socialize much in high school because I spent most of
my time focusing on my academics and playing golf for the school team. I never really went out
with anyone except my best friend, and I rarely went to school dances. I didn’t have a solid
friend group, and I was always the quiet kid in class. Once I got to college, not much changed. I
spent all of my time with the same select people and never knew how to branch out and make
more friends. No matter how much I wanted to, I didn’t know where to start.

Spending fall semester at home during quarantine didn’t help. I was bad at socializing before, but
I completely forgot how to talk to people. When I got back to campus, things got a little better
because I was excited to see my friends. My friends started meeting each other, and I had a pretty
consistent group to hang out with for the most part. I think this really helped bring me out of my
little introverted shell, and I made more of an effort to socialize back at home this summer.

I started off just texting some people I hadn’t talked to in a while. I always felt awkward texting
people out of nowhere, I typically just talk to the same group of people consistently every day. It
definitely felt weird to me at first, but after a while I realized that I was the one making it weird
for myself. Once I got over myself, I started talking to more and more people. Granted, it might
only be 3-4 more people than I usually talk to, but I’ve gotten closer to them this last summer
than I have the entire time we’ve known each other in high school.

Once I started to get to know people more, I started asking deeper questions. The way I get close
to people is by getting to know them past the surface level. I love hearing about people’s dreams
and what they want to do in life. It’s become something that I ask everyone I meet now. Hearing
about what people want to do with their lives makes me feel closer to them and it usually leads to
conversations about personal beliefs and what makes them happy. I have a friend from middle
school that I just recently reconnected with and despite us being close for maybe 3 years before
we went to different high schools, I never knew that he wanted to open his own coffee shop and
travel the world because coffee is something that brings him happiness and brings him closer to
those he loves.

This last part was probably the hardest for me. My social battery drains extremely fast; I need to
nap after every time I go out with friends. So, remember how I said I never really went out
much? This was a big reason why. But I didn’t want to be stuck just texting my friends all
summer, I wanted to see them in person. And reaching out to more people meant going out more
and more often. I started going out at least once a week, not to mention staying at my friend’s
house every single weekend. I tried to go out with a different friend every week, and call my
friends from school here and there. Yeah, it’s draining and I’m always absolutely exhausted when
I get home, but I made countless memories this summer that I wouldn’t trade the world for.

It took me 20 years, but I finally started to get the hang of this whole socializing thing. I used to
feel lonely, like I had no friends. I was always the type to wait for people to reach out to me first,
but now that I’ve become the one to reach out, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been!

Hi! I'm Michelle, a junior at Purdue University studying Brain and Behavioral Sciences with a minor in Management. I'm from Orange County in sunny SoCal. Some of my hobbies include golfing, journaling, and singing!
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