Sometimes, college can be a nightmare for introverts. Likewise, it can be a nightmare for type A individuals. What’s even better is if you are both an introvert and a type A college student. I happen to fall under this category and I have survived and thrived during the past few years of school.
One of the things that bothers me most about college is the party atmosphere. I don’t like to drink, nor do I enjoy staying up past midnight. I don’t like bars, I don’t like Frat houses, and I don’t like any place with blaring music and dim lights that reeks of alcohol or vomit. The introverted side of me refuses to go to parties for the fear of having to interact with people. The type A side of me would rather use my time wisely by studying or sleeping while others go out. So, the solution is to compromise with both aspects of my personality. I recognize that I need to take breaks and relax on occasion, though I often need to be reminded or forced to do so. I also recognize that it’s important for me to focus on my academics and get my homework done. Watching a TV episode or a movie is the perfect solution because it allows you to study until it gets late and you lose focus, but also allows you to have fun without having to be around a crowd.
Another thing I hate is when someone steals your seat in class. While there may not be official assigned seats in college, there are unofficial assigned seats. The seat you choose on the first day of class is yours for the rest of the semester, so it can be frustrating to walk in a room and see that your spot is unavailable. This forces you to talk to other people, see the professor from a different angle, and break tradition. It just throws everything off, and you’re forced to compensate. The solutions are as follows: get to class early so you can snag your seat, make sure that everyone knows how upset you will be if your spot is taken, and if someone sits there, take a deep breath and move on.
The dreaded group projects aren’t a walk in the park either. They involve you talking to people who you may or may not be friends with, as well as actually getting along with them so you can complete your assignment. The worst part of these for a type A individual is that a majority of the group members always seem to be slackers, leaving you to be the leader and complete an A+ worthy project. Some people may refer to you as an overachiever because of this attitude, but that’s okay. Try to divide the work evenly, set deadlines, and seek out another group member that also wants to get a good grade (if there is one). Sometimes you just have to suck it up and do the extra work to prevent yourself from failing, but that’s life.
If the previous three situations don’t make you cringe, forced class participation sure will. Not only does this bring about your fear of speaking in front of people, but the thought of being wrong terrifies you. It’s basically a lose-lose situation. I still struggle with this due to my perfectionism, but my desire to earn the points and maintain my grades tends to trump that part of my personality. Looking for easy opportunities to participate has become an acquired talent to help me with this challenge. Participation for reading a paragraph aloud, sharing your opinion, or asking a question are some of the best ways to earn your points while still feeling comfortable and confident.
College involves a lot of stepping out of your comfort zone. For those of us who don't enjoy that, it can be a challenge, but once we learn how to survive with our personality types in mind, we're unstoppable.