What It's Really Like Being An Introvert In College

What It's Really Like Being An Introvert In College

I don't want any human interaction today.
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I walk into a room, and everyone is staring. They're not staring at me because I did something... they're staring at me because I am also a new shape with different eyes, a nose, and a mouth, like them.

The mind of an introvert can make everything seem like a problem.

When I walk into a room full of people, my mind goes haywire.

"Are they judging me?"

"Are they judging me for what I am wearing?"

"Why are they looking at me?"

"Did I mess up on my makeup?"

"Is there something on my face?"

"Do I look sad?"

"Do I look tired?"

"Did someone overhear me say something and I'm being judged for what I said?"

"I don't want any human interaction today."

By this point in school, professors that I've had for a majority of my college career all know I despise getting called on. Ninety-five percent of the time, I don't know the answer. The times I have gotten called on, my face turns tomato red, I feel nervous and shaky, and I trip on my words. The spotlight is on me and I wish it would move in a different direction.

When I walk out of the classroom, I'm either the first person or the last person.

When I am walking around campus to my next class, students and cars are rushing past me. I am looking down at my phone for three different reasons: I don't want to zone out and accidentally make awkward eye contact with anyone, I don't feel like talking and want to evaluate in my mind how my day has been going so far, or if I see someone who I don't talk to/get along with.

When I walk into the dining hall, I have to constantly remind myself to remain calm. Students are walking in so many different directions for food and drink that sometimes I forget how to walk properly in there. Sometimes I will almost bump into someone and feel uncomfortable afterward. After that, I really don't want any human interaction.

Surprisingly, if you drop me in a large crowd, I would be fine. Usually, that's an introvert's worst nightmare, but for me, I don't mind because I no longer feel alone. But it can be different when you have social anxiety and you forgot to get ketchup after sitting down. I pray that I'm not being stared at as I awkwardly get up from my chair after debating with myself for 10 minutes if I really needed that ketchup or not.

If I have to get up and get something, I avoid all eye contact as much as possible by either not looking up, or by looking straight ahead. I've gotten better over the years and gained more confidence with getting up by myself in front of a crowd, however, the anxiety is still planted inside of me.

When I am waiting for someone in a building on campus, I look down at my phone. I look at emails because it's the only thing trying to engage with me at all times of the day.

When I am working out, I do my best to focus on myself and not the others around me. This is the time I really don't want any human interaction unless I am with my friends. My music is loud, and my mouth is shut. Working out is my time. The time I'm the quietest.

Only not as quiet when I am sitting down in a room with a group full of people. This group of people could even be my friends. As I'm sitting next to everyone, my mind is trying to process all of the conversations so I can think of what to say next, except by the time I've thought of something, the subject has already changed. Sometimes, I don't have a second to speak because I'm too late.

When I am at a party, I know I will never be the most outgoing person there. I'll be with my group of friends, but I'll never be the person to go up to anyone else I don't know and start a conversation. When I'm at a party, my eyes will be looking in all different directions to see who's here, and what they're doing — not in a judging way.

Being an introvert isn't necessarily a bad thing, or at least what people make it out to be. It can be hard for sure, but it's something that I've had to accept, because I'll always be like this. I can improve to be more talkative and outgoing.

But I know I'll always be the shy girl.

Cover Image Credit: Jordan Battey

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Our generation is so caught up in this notion that it's "cool" not to care about anything or anyone. I know you've tried to do just that. I'm sure there was a brief moment where you genuinely believed you were capable of not caring, especially since you convinced everyone around you that you didn't. But that just isn't true, is it? Don't be ashamed of this, don't let anyone ridicule you for having emotions. After everything life has put you through you have still remained soft. This is what makes you, you. This is what makes you beautiful. You care so deeply and love so boldly and it is incredible, never let the world take this from you.

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You are the girl who will give and give and give until you have absolutely nothing left. Some may see this as a weakness, an inconvenience, the perfect excuse to walk all over you. I know you try to make sense of it all, why someone you cared so much about would treat you the way they did. You'll make excuses for them, rationalize it and turn it all around on yourself. You'll tell yourself that maybe just maybe they will change even though you know deep down they won't. You gave them everything you had and it still feels as if they took it all and ran. When this happens, remind yourself that you are not a reflection of those who cannot love you. The way that people treat you does not define who you are. Tell yourself this every day, over and over until it sticks. Remind yourself that you are gold, darling, and sometimes they will prefer silver and that is OK.

I know you feel guilty when you have to say no to something, I know you feel like you are letting everyone you love down when you do. Listen to me, it is not your responsibility to tend to everyone else's feelings all the time. By all means, treat their feelings with care, but remember it is not the end of the world when you cannot help them right away. Remember that it is OK to say no. You don't have to take care of everyone else all the time. Sometimes it's OK to say no to lunch with your friends and just stay home in bed to watch Netflix when you need a minute for yourself. I know sometimes this is much easier said than done because you are worried about letting other people down, but please give it a try.

With all of this, please remember that you matter. Do not be afraid to take a step back and focus on yourself. You owe yourself the same kind of love and patience and kindness and everything that you have given everyone else. It is OK to think about and put yourself first. Do not feel guilty for taking care of yourself. You are so incredibly loved even when it doesn't feel like it, please always remember that. You cannot fill others up when your own cup is empty. Take care of yourself.

Cover Image Credit: Charcoal Alley

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8 Ways To Jumpstart Those Dreaded Monday Mornings

Last month I bought a coffee maker, and it's saved me money and time in the morning.

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I can honestly say that I never considered myself a morning person. I would much rather sleep in and avoid my responsibilities but that is not the way to have a productive day. I recently started doing these eight things every morning and I've found that it's much easier to get up and I get more done during the day.

1. Set your alarm and plug your phone far away from your bed

This one is really easy, and it helps you get one of your hardest tasks out of the way, actually getting out of bed. Now that you're up you can begin to tackle the day instead of letting it defeat you before you're even out of bed.

2. Drink a glass of lemon water

Now I'm sure you've heard this before, but it does have a significant impact on my day. It wakes me up and is also a popular remedy for acne and dry skin.

3. Make your bed

Making your bed helps you feel like you've already accomplished something even though it's actually a small task. It also prevents you from getting back in your bed which is something I used to do all the time.

4. Brush your teeth and wash your face

Brushing your teeth and washing your face are tasks that should be done sooner rather than later. In the morning it's important to do the tasks that wake you up first, so you're ready to tackle the tasks you don't like.

5. Prepare for the day with a breathing ritual

I've read about breathing rituals before but would never have tried one until I downloaded the app "Sanity&Self;," which is a free application that contains workouts and personal growth podcasts. I listen to "Embrace the New Day!" and it's only 2 minutes long, but it helps me prepare for my day.

6. Plan to be active during the day

Whether it's setting aside time to go to the gym and workout or planning to go for a walk around campus being active is very important! It's much easier to make time to be active when you pick a specific time and place to do so.

7. Make coffee at home

I used to rush out the door late every morning and end up buying an overpriced cup of coffee. Last month I bought a coffee maker, and it's saved me money and time in the morning. I ordered a Hamilton Beach Single Serve Coffee Maker on Amazon for $34. It's inexpensive, and all you need is ground coffee and your favorite creamer.

8. Eat breakfast

It's so cliche, but breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you don't eat breakfast, you'll end up overeating at lunchtime, and you won't have as much energy throughout the day. When I'm in a rush, I eat a protein bar, and if I have more time, I'll make two eggs and a smoothie.

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