For introvert college freshman, walking onto a college campus is like an astronaut stepping foot onto a new planet: the new world is absolutely petrifying, and all you want to do is go home and sleep the fear away. Alas, introverts like you and me have signed up to live on this new planet for four years, some of us have contact with family and friends, but for the most part, we are alone. We will have to survive in this new world, but based on my experience thus far as a freshman from a local college campus, breaking out is not as hard as it originally seemed.
Even though I don’t put in much effort to meet new people, I put myself in situations where I suddenly befriend people I never thought I would speak to. Sometimes, a simple smile or good morning invites a conversation, so always carry a friendly attitude when you sit next to someone in class.
If you want to be bold and go the extra mile, you can always introduce yourself, shake hands, and start a conversation. Of course, you might get the idea that someone will think you’re weird if you randomly strike up a conversation, but I can assure you that being friendly is not a crime. On my first day of Philosophy class, the person in front of me greeted me with a handshake and a friendly smile. He made me feel comfortable in the class, and even now, Philosophy is my favorite class. So go ahead and be bold; you just might make someone’s day.
I find that getting involved means helping and informing others with things I like. Since I like literature (and argue that I am quick to understand the complexity of our textbooks) I take time to clarify things we have read for my classmates in my English class. While some people think I am snobby, I found that I ended up making acquaintances with people I get along with. If you stand out in one of your classes, one way to start a conversation would be by helping someone. By helping, I emphasize that you be kind, of course; you don’t want others to think you are helping for the sake of showing off. Helping others by explaining course material allows others to see you as an approachable person, which can eventually lead to other forms of small talk, and if you’re lucky, maybe new friends. However, if you don’t want to take the risk of being the smart kid everyone wants to be “friends” with there are other ways to get involved.
I guarantee that your college has a club that caters to your interest. There might be an art club, a fitness club, or even a club as dorky as Star War Fans Club — whatever your interests may be, such a club will introduce you to a group of people who are as artistic or weird as you, and if you’re dorky enough, being involved in this club might help you express yourself.
Things to Keep in Mind
Breaking out of your shell does not equate to becoming a new person. Sure, you might change personality traits about yourself eventually, but you should not set a goal to completely change yourself for the sake of “growing up.”
If you do not like going to parties, especially with people you do not know that well, you do notnhave to go to that party. If your sense of humor does not find race or sexist jokes funny, you do not have to laugh along to those jokes. If you are ever in a social situation where you that you are feeling uncomfortable, please know that you are not obligated to go along with the situation.
I understand that being introvert is painful, and I know you may envy those who easily make their way through the complexity of socialization, but breaking out of your shell is a slow process. Don’t you ever force yourself out of your comfort.
Aside from that, enjoy your school year with joy and openness.