To be honest, the world is not geared toward the introverts. The world is created and continues to be for extroverts, the people that we deem charming, while introverts remain labeled as timid, incapable, even possibly as frightening, as if they might be hiding something because they don’t talk as much. I’m here first hand to let you know that just because someone doesn’t say anything out loud doesn’t mean they don’t have plenty to say or think. And it is a genuine thing that it takes time for people to warm up to others, people aren’t always bubbly and they aren’t always going to be able to just jump into conversation with everyone they encounter.
The world is designed for the people that can easily hold a conversation with strangers and can charm them into networking for jobs. College works the same way. I’m not saying it’s necessarily college’s fault, it’s just the facts, it is easier to navigate the college life if you could be around people for long periods of time and feel comfortable engaging with strangers.
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Probably your first day living on your own, and you are placed in a tiny room with a complete stranger. And now you are expected to do everything in front of this stranger, change, sleep, do homework, getting a cold, get ready for a date, not have any plans and sit in bed. Every little thing that you do is now displayed to this stranger. And they just expect it to go smoothly. They base it off of questions such as “Are you clean?” I don’t know about you but even if I wasn’t clean I’m not going to admit that, also what is the definition of clean here? How do they know their definitions line up, the answer is simple, they don’t. But let’s say you’ve gotten used to the roommate, now you have to walk down the hall in a towel or a robe to take a shower, a shower that you share with 20+ other girls.
You are never ever alone
You live with another person. You live in a suite or a hall and you see people every time you exit your room. Immediately you have to turn on, you have to smile or wave or acknowledge them or otherwise you are the mean person of the group and are deemed rude or not a people person etc. Then you have to walk to class seeing people all around you and then get to class with people and eat with people do homework in the library surrounded by people. You are legitimately never alone. You can never turn off your people skills and for an introvert who by definition needs a break from people to recharge, they never get that opportunity so they run on low battery for so long they become exhausted.
Making friends is hard
No one ever tells you that. They always say that just talk to people you’ll find your group. But it can be a lot more complicated than that. Going to Wake means you also deal with the party environment, that’s a fact. But the fact is that those environments are loud, overwhelming and literally overcrowded with people, so basically an introvert’s worst nightmare. So what’s worse someone forces themselves into enjoying this in order to fit in? Or they stand their ground, don’t go and make no friends?
So you decide to rush. You need a solid group of friends that will be there for you, so a sorority sounds perfect. Now imagine you’re struggling to find friends so you decide to rush and now suddenly your forced into a week long experience where you have to talk to hundreds of girls in order for them to ultimately decide if you’re good enough to be their friend. (Now I’m in a sorority and it was the best decision I made at Wake I’m just saying the whole scenario of rush week is terrifying and overwhelming). So what if you decide that rushing and being interviewed over and over again for a week while forced to keep a smile and be interesting is not for you? You’re back to square one.
I point out all of this not to discourage introverts or create an aura of impossibility of college I say this rather to point out that not everyone is the same and life is hard. Sometimes simple things like raising their hand in class and being stared at or being constantly surrounded by people are exhausting. So next time your friend bows out to hang out with you because they need some time to themselves, let them. Also remember that just because someone is quieter than you doesn’t make them have less opinions than you or less able to have fun it just means they are quieter than you.
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