Introverts comprise anywhere between 25 and 50 percent of the world’s population. I’m an introvert myself. Actually, I’m an INTJ (introversion, intuition, thinking, judgment). Whether you’re INTJ, ISFP or any of the other six introverted personality types, we share one thing in common: socializing is exhausting for us. We expand energy in situations that force us to engage with people we might not want to engage with, and need some time in solitude to recharge our metaphorical batteries. It may seem a burden at times, but there’s a way to spin this apparent inconvenience to your advantage in college.
Use Your Time Wisely
As an introvert, your greatest asset will be your proclivity for quiet reflection – maybe you don’t like going out and partying as much as other people. That’s fine! That means that the Friday and Saturdays that your peers will spend hammered, at frat parties or elsewhere (you probably don’t want to know where) are a time for you to get ahead of the game. Instead of thinking, “crap, I have a quiz on Monday and I’ve gotta cram” on Sunday night, you’ll be on top of your game. There are only seven days in the week, after all, and oftentimes two of those days go to waste. If you can effectively use the weekends for work, by all means, go for it.
As strange as it seems, emails, Facebook chat and text messaging are your best friends when it comes to communication. If you’re too timid to work everything out up-front, then sending a follow-up message can help create the illusion of being proactive – the only thing is that you don’t actually have to meet people face-to-face. Be warned, though. You can’t conduct all of your communications behind a computer, tablet or phone screen.
The Dining Hall is Your Enemy
They’re filled with people. Lots of them. And if you tend to keep to yourself whatever reason, be it for academia or extracurriculars or the fact that you just prefer to spend alone, then you might want to stay away from the dining halls. They can be noisy, extremely crowded and in general a bad time. I personally prefer taking a stroll around the block and finding a cheap-but-delicious food truck or restaurant to eat at. Though if you really need to use up the swipes or points on your meal plan, there’s really no choice.
Form a Tight-Knit Group
Two minds are better than one, especially when it comes to homework. Collaboration is key in college. Some problems are just too difficult for one lone wolf to take on alone, and can only be completed with the combined brainpower of approximately 3-5 undergraduate students. If there is any social interaction that is absolutely vital to not flunking out, this is it.
Use Wolfram Alpha (But Keep It a Secret)
When in doubt, use Wolfram Alpha. If possible, you may want to keep it a secret from others. If you’re unaware, it’s a computational engine that can pretty much do anything math-related. If your classes are on a curve, it’s probably better to keep this gem a secret. If not, then share the wealth!
Finding That Perfect, Quiet Place to Study
You know what I’m talking about. It could be a particularly sunny nook in the Engineering building, a study room in the library that nobody knows about or the corner of the campus café late at night. It may be tempting to hole yourself up in your room all the time, but I find that eventually the imperative to work starts diminishing. It’s important to vary where it is you work, since being in a different environment will keep you from mentally stagnating or becoming too familiar and comfortable with one particular workspace.
It’s perfectly fine to be introverted! Just make sure that you’re not completely shutting yourself off from the outside world. Yes, sometimes social interaction can be tiring, but the most successful people have a killer combination emotional intelligence, traditional intelligence and social capacity. Here’s to an awesome college career!