Being an Introvert in College

Freshman year has been a wake up call for me, and not in the way that you think. I’m not struggling in school or gaining the freshman 15 or finding my bank account balance at $0.22 or anything; no, the main wake up call for me has been the social part of this experience.

Now don’t get me wrong—I have friends, I swear. I have great friends, and I’m thankful for every one of them. But in a campus as large—both in population and geographical size—as IU, it can sometimes feel like you are a tiny, tiny minnow swimming in the Atlantic Ocean. And as a (proud) introvert, this has been a challenge for me. Sure, I’m friendly and courteous, but I don’t find a new best friend from an elevator conversation; that’s just not how I operate. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. So, I compiled a few tips for introverts like me to navigate the currents and waves of college life.

  1. You Need To Make An Effort.
    Making new friends is not going to happen spontaneously, especially at such a huge school. Put yourself out there, people! Nobody will know how awesome you are until you give them a glimpse of your true colors. Although it sounds so much easier to curl up with Netflix and some Cheez-Its on a Thursday night, branch out! Keep your dorm door open. Hang out in the lounge instead of your room. You never know what could happen when you simply change your location.

  2. Get a Job.
    Now, it doesn't have to be a traditional, 9-to-5 grind for you to reap the benefits of having a project or job to do. People who make themselves busy with something extracurricular (this could be a job, club, team, anything!) have a better sense of self-worth and self-confidence, which is the key to making lifelong connections. So get busy! Get involved with any student organization that you feel passionate about. It will pay off.
  3. Don’t Be Afraid to Be Lonely.
    Being such an independent and introverted person, I never imagined that I would be lonely here, but sometimes I am. And that’s ok! Being by yourself can really give you a time of reflection and self-development, something that we all need during college. So don’t be afraid to take a walk around the Old Crescent in the evening (and find me most sunsets reading on the benches by Maxwell) or take a class none of your friends are taking, or attend a movie at the Cinema. It’s these times that help us find out who we really are, and you deserve to fine-tune your true self.    

These are the best years of our lives, and you don’t have to be a social butterfly to really enjoy them. Sure, you’ll be lonely sometimes, but don’t let that stop you from meeting your lifelong friends. Don’t be afraid to enjoy new places or activities, and throw yourself into anything you’re passionate about.

Swim on, shy minnows.                                                              

About The Author
Rachel WaddeyCox Scholar Ambassador, Class of 2018, Finance Major

Originally from Zionsville, Indiana. Cox Exploratory Scholar. Finance/Real Estate double major, Class of 2018. Alpha Gamma Delta member. Craft root beer enthusiast. Lover of country music, pralines and the great state of Indiana.