Let me first start by saying that not all introverts are bookworms, or hermits, or any of those other thoughtless stereotypes; we are a diverse group of people, okay?! Beginning college, going back to college, starting another semester: these things can all be daunting, especially when you are an introvert.
I have always preferred to keep to myself. I surround myself with a small group of friends that have taken me years and years to trust. Approaching new beginnings, like college or even going back after that three week winter break, is terrifying because I wonder if my friends are all still going to like me even though I live with them and saw them for at least ¾ of the break. But still, what if they don't?
Here are some foolproof tips on how to make the best of your introverted-ness in college:
Do it. Please. I beg of you. It can be extremely hard to put yourself out there. I know, trust me I've been there and am still there (it is a constant battle). Believe me when I say that your mom was right. Joining clubs is actually fun and a great way to make friends. This can be Greek life, French club, an honors society, and there is even one at my school that offers weekly Harry Potter viewing get-togethers. Putting yourself into social situations can be terrifying, but once you do it it's really not that bad!
Some days are definitely harder than others, and you need to go home and sleep/cry for 16 hours because it was so overwhelming, but I know that at least personally, I always feel better after I make myself do something instead of wallowing in my self pity of wishing that I did. So just try it, and if you hate it then try something else, but you will never know if you don't put yourself out there.
Don't sit in your dorm and watch The Avengers 16 times in five days.
Don't do it; take my advice, I have done it and it is not as fun as it sounds. Invite people to watch it with you! (I'm kidding, kind of) Literally just put yourself out there. I know it's hard and you feel like you have this awful, pressing weight on your chest because there are way too many people (four is a very large number, okay) but do it. Save watching The Avengers 16 times in a row for when you are sick, or when One Direction breaks up or something else super important happens, not for a night when people invited you over and you said no because you were scared and tired, and ugh.
When people are making plans right in front of you and you feel left out, just speak up and invite yourself.
It took me exactly 17 years to learn this. The way you get invited to things is by throwing yourself into a situation. You cannot just stand in a corner and wonder why people never invite you. I used to get so sad when my friends would make plans right in front of me, but I would never say anything and then go and sulk in my room. Speak up and ask if you can come, the worst thing that will happen is that they will say no.
Know that it's okay to love being alone.
My roommates are my best friends and I get stressed when I can hear them in the kitchen; for some weird (and super frustrating reason) I do not want to go make breakfast until they're gone. I have no idea why; it's just this awful and ubiquitous weight that I start to feel whenever there are people around. It's like I want to be alone, but don't at the same time I want to hang out with my friends and have fun and go to restaurants, but the thought of it is so incredibly stressful.
Key word here is "thought." Once I am actually doing it and have put myself out there, its not that bad and I usually forget to stress. Also, explain to your friends how you feel. I know it's hard because you're scared of misinterpretation and hurting their feelings, but it's so much better once you do. People, believe it or not, can't read your mind or know the exact inner working of your brain, so just tell them. They will be surprisingly understanding.
Once you start putting yourself out there, it's shockingly hard to stop. Yes, some days are going to be harder than others, but honestly that's just life. It's okay to have a day (or days) where you just don't want have any form of human interaction; you just stare at a wall, or analyze all of Stevie Nicks's songs and compare them to life, or you know, whatever else you do with your time. Just try. Things are never as bad as you make them out to be in your head.