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Surviving College as an Introvert

When you’re in college, it can feel as though everyone else wants to being partying or hanging out with friends constantly. There’s always something going on: board games in the dorm lounge, open mic nights at the terrace, tailgates before football games… It’s great, sure, until suddenly you’re just done with socializing, and your friends really don’t understand why you don’t want to go to yet another party. So, how in the world do you survive college as an introvert?

To begin, let’s define an introvert for those of you who aren’t quite sure about what it really means. Introverts aren’t always shy and quiet, and they don’t dislike socializing; they just like to do it in measured quantities because constant social interaction is exhausting for them. It’s very possible to find an introvert who is super outgoing and always the life of the party— so long as they get their time to recharge alone later on. However, the college atmosphere isn’t exactly always conducive to an introvert’s need to be alone. And so, for you introverts out there, here’s how to deal with it:


  1. Find your space.

It’s incredible how calming it can be to have a spot you can escape to when you need some time alone— whether it’s the small, quiet study room in the basement of your dorm or the one nook in a library that you call your own. The familiarity can also be relaxing in itself.


  1. Don’t feel guilty about needing time to yourself.

Accept your needs. You are who you are, so don’t feel pressured to go out and party with your roommate, no matter how much she begs. Here’s the secret no one tells you: No one is going to miss you at that party. Sure, they’ll be bummed at first, but you aren’t going to ruin anyone’s night for choosing to stay in.


  1. Make an effort to form strong, rewarding relationships with people whose needs mirror yours.

Introverts oftentimes find short-lived college friendships unfulfilling, so don’t be afraid to take the time to get to know people better. Take initiative and invite them out for coffee or go to a fitness class together at the SERF. There’s no better feeling than finding a friend who understands how you’re feeling. Those people are out there, I promise.


  1. Get out of your comfort zone.

It’s great to accept your nature, but don’t box yourself in either. Go to a frat party once before you completely rule it out. Who knows? Maybe you’ll love it. If not, you can check it off your Madison bucket list.


  1. Join a club or organization.

Getting to really know people in college can sometimes be challenging. Consider finding your niche on campus by joining a club where other members share similar interests with you. An easy plus side to a student org? Once your meeting is over, you don’t have to actually see the other members until the next time the club gets together— unless you want to. Limited obligatory social interaction? It doesn’t get much better than that.


  1. Get together with friends on your terms.

Not a fan of tailgates with hundreds of people jammed into one tiny yard? Ask your friends on an ice cream date; plan a study date; start watching a Netflix show together. It’s not rocket science: if you actually like what you’re doing with friends, then you’re going to like hanging out with friends more. Earth-shattering, I know.


College is a balancing act, and not just for introverts. Leave the stress to your classes, though; spending time with friends shouldn’t be the source of your problems. Whether college ends up being the best four years of your life or just a necessary process to getting your degree, it is undoubtedly a time to find yourself. You say you’re an introvert? Own it. Embrace it. You’re in great company.


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