College Life Through The Introvert's Eyes

College Life Through The Introvert's Eyes

How the introvert really interacts with others.
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Everyone has a stereotype in mind for what an introvert’s life is like, and some of those are based on truth, but only a small section of them. Interacting with people can be a little nerve-racking for the Introvert, but you still have to find a way to express yourself in this seemingly extroverted world. However, it’s not always that simple. Several things are affected by this part of your personality.

Meeting new people: Socializing for the introvert-at-heart can be incredibly frustrating and stress-inducing. Introverts have a reputation for keeping to themselves because they are antisocial. It’s not that we’re antisocial. It's just that, meeting new people can be terrifying. Hundreds of judging eyes looking to find out who you really are...no, thanks. Also all those orienteering events the school does for new students can be pretty terrifying. You’d rather get to know a few people really well than to know a ton of random people you may never interact with again.

Hanging out with friends: You have no problem hanging out with your friends silently. You could be reading different books or watching separate shows on Netflix, but as long as you’re together, you’re hanging out. Hanging out and doing your own thing isn’t the only thing you do, of course. You also have incredibly deep conversations and really get to know each other. My roommate and I all know a ton about each other. We know each other’s deep, dark secrets and we’re that much closer for it. Of course we can be crazy, but we can be doing our own thing like it’s no big deal. Also, you don’t really get those awkward silences.

Flirting: That’s probably not going to happen much. You never know what other people think and interacting with a new person is pretty intimidating as it is. You feel awkward and not confident so you tend to keep to yourself. The people you do know probably don’t know how outrageous you can be, so you pretty much just feel like an awkward potato trying to not freak people out.

Homework: Contrary to common belief, getting homework done can actually be harder for the introvert. Yes, you probably spend less time hanging out with friends than some, but you’ve also developed a skill for finding something to do. Having these different activities to occupy your time can be dangerous, because, well, it’s occupying your time. You lose track of time and don’t get your work done as quickly as you’d like.

Interests: When someone finds out what your interests are, they can sometimes be surprised. They may surmise a few of your interests by looking at the stereotypes for introverts, but that’s about it. Not only that, but people can’t guess what your major actually is. People tend to not realize I’m a ministry major because everyone thinks that ministry majors are extroverts. I mean, ministry can be a lot easier for an extrovert, but that’s not who everyone is.

Class discussions: You internalize all your thoughts about the topic, so you don’t really say much. When you don’t really say much, people don’t expect you to. When you actually get a word in edgewise, everyone is surprised. When the class is discussion-based and your grade depends on that, you tend to wonder how your grade will look from your lack of speaking out. Then, of course, your professor tells you one-on-one that you should speak out more because you have some great ideas. But by the time you can say anything, the time is already come and gone.

Regardless of any possible struggles you might have, at the end of the day that's who you are. Sure, there's a bunch of other struggles not even mentioned here, but there's also a plus side to being an introvert. Of course I'm not saying that introverts are better than extroverts, and there's no reason for anyone to say that or vice versa. However, it's important to find ways around these ups and downs, and just live. And college is a pretty great time to get to know yourself, so take advantage of that.

Cover Image Credit: http://wanna-joke.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/funny-picture-introvert-unite-separately.jpg

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A Cancelled Exchange Trip 2 Years Ago Helped Me Realize The Importance Of Lost Experiences

A few years ago, I signed up for an exchange trip to Essen, Germany. Two months later, I received news that the trip had to be cancelled. Two years later, I feel all the disappointment I should have felt that year.

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Two years ago, I signed up for an exchange trip to Essen, Germany. I'll admit that I was reluctant at first, and it took much cajoling and threats on the part of my parents. But I finally relented and allowed some of my parents' wisdom to seep in — the exchange would be a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the German culture and to open my mind a little.

A few weeks after I registered for the exchange, the coordinators started "matching" us with German students. In my mind, it was similar to a dating app. Some of my fellow American students and I filled out a form with questions ranging from, "What do you do in your free time?" to "Why are you learning German?" We then were "matched" with a corresponding German student who had similar interests and hobbies based on a form they filled out.

After I was "matched" with my student, I started contacting her. We began to talk on Snapchat and discussed similarities between our lives and compared our hobbies and classes. As the weeks passed, I truly began to feel excited about her arrival in Atlanta and my arrival in Essen. I couldn't wait for October (when the Germans would come), and I was even more excited to go to Germany in the following summer.

But about a month before the German students were scheduled to arrive, we received some distressing news — the trip had to be cancelled.

I'm still not sure why, but I know the cancellation was due to a problem on the American end (how typical) and had to do with some problems in the county headquarters (again, how typical). Both sides of the exchange were disappointed, but at the time I merely brushed it off. I even mentioned (unabashedly) of how glad I was to have a free summer.

Yet looking back two years later, I definitely do feel disappointment at the cancellation of the trip. But most importantly, I feel disappointment at my failure to realize of all the amazing experiences I could have had.

I could have learned so much about the German culture. I could have made lifelong friendships with the German students. I could have tried new foods and done things I normally wouldn't or couldn't have done.

But I didn't push to have the trip un-cancelled. I didn't bother to find out what happened. In fact, my blatant ignorance of what had happened was proof of my apathetic nature towards the trip — and I very much regret that now.

I won't be the first to admit that I've made a lot of mistakes in my life, and there are my situations and times when I wish I could have acted differently. But the cancellation of the exchange trip, although due to unforeseeable factors out of my control, proved to be one of the biggest let-downs in my life.

I know I'll have more of these disappointments in the future, and there's no way I can prepare for all of them. But learning and knowing the value of lost experiences will truly open my eyes to the world and help me lead a better, less regretful life.

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