It is that time of year again – the sun is blazing, the tensions are high, and the summer is ending. School is starting again. But this is not just any school year. No, this is college, the place where you will make memories that will last a lifetime. You will make friends that will be in your wedding, learn the skills you need to succeed as an adult, and grow in yourself every day. However, if you have skipped the stage of naive awe and wonder, moving into college is just another event in the calendar. For introverts, college move-in is a nightmare. New places, new people, new pressure – it can get overwhelming very quickly. This is an article meant to relate to introverts all around the world, whether you are leaving home for the first time to go to college, or if you're a Super Senior.
I understand firsthand the heart palpitations before hall meetings and the nausea at the thought of sitting in a common room full of strangers. I am torn between wanting to go out and meet people and staying in the safety of my room. Because, in my head, I know I need to make friends on my hall. The year will be much better with friends nearby, and tailgates and Christmas parties are only as fun as the people that attend them; but for some reason, I feel held back. I desperately want to branch out of my friend group and meet new people and make new memories with them. However, the thought of introducing myself makes me physically ill. So many questions fly through my head:
What will they think of me?
Should I wait here and hope someone comes up to me to talk?
What if I stutter or say something awkward and embarrassing? Then I'll have no friends for sure.
What if no one approaches me?
Do I look strange just standing here alone?
Everyone else is talking to each other. Why can't I go talk to someone?
Why doesn't anyone come up to me?
Do I look weird?
Do I look friendly enough?
Will they like me?
What if I have nothing to say, and the conversation fizzles out?
Should I go up to someone and introduce myself? The thought terrifies me to my very core. I need to talk to people, but going up to someone makes me feel like curling into the fetal position and weeping. What if I interrupt someone's conversation? How can I fit in?
Sometimes, to take a big step, you need to only practice shuffling your feet.
As terrifying as it is, you need to go out there. Put your foot on the water and, in blind faith, step into the common area and out on the waves. Start small. Go out and spend as much time as you can out there – try to meet one or two people. Put your thoughts behind you if even for an hour. If an hour is all you can stand, that's okay. You've made progress. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither are friendships. All you have to do is try. And even though it's scary, even though alarms are going off in your head telling you to stop, just remember:
They're going to love you.