We've all done it. Whether it was in health class in high school, psychology lecture in college, or in the middle of night purely out of curiosity, we've all wondered what "personality type" we are.
Taking the Myers-Briggs test is one of the many ways we place ourselves into boxes, labeling every inch of our character. Whenever I buckle up the courage to label myself (which is not often), I always end up somewhere on the introvert side of the scale. During my freshman year of high school, I kept that information to myself because everyone around me seemed to have this idea that being introverted meant being antisocial or geeky or generally just not as fun to be around. But I'm here to tell you that the stigma could not be more wrong. In fact, I think introverts are more social than extroverts even if it doesn't appear that way.
I have always enjoyed what my mom calls my "solo time." "Solo Time" is when I am allowed a few hours a day to be on my own and be with my own thoughts. It is my time to refuel and rest up my social battery for when I see friends or go out to dinner with family. Think of it like putting gas in a car, you can only drive for so long before you have to stop, take time out of your day to go to the gas station and give your car some good quality fuel. "Solo Time" is just that: good quality fuel.
I'm not here to bash extroverts.
I want to add a new perspective to the discussion. Introvert or extrovert, we simply run on different gas. I love that, as my introverted self when I form friendships I form them deeply. While I can't stand being the center of attention even for just a few seconds, I could bear my soul to someone I trust for hours. I'm not afraid of being social or of people but I am scared of what they think of me. It takes a lot of energy and courage for me to walk into a group situation but grabbing coffee with a friend couldn't be easier.
Life as an introvert is especially difficult in college.
There are always a million social events to go to on weekends, and club meetings and study sessions to attend during the week. It can be hard to find a moment to just sit and be. Living with a roommate can also be difficult because no matter how considerate my roommate is (she is the best!), our room is a shared space so "solo time" isn't always easy to find.
Throughout my freshman year, I found myself run down far more than I was energized.
But this school year, I decided to make a conscious effort to not allow myself to let my tank run dry. I drive off campus when I am feeling anxious and go study in a coffee shop. I drop everything (homework included) to go on a run or to the gym when I can't focus. I spend some Friday nights in bed with Netflix and a hot cup of tea if that's what I need. I can't be social all the time and I don't think anyone should be expected to.
I am going home for fall break this weekend and I couldn't be more excited to do nothing.
To be with my family and dogs in Dallas, and to be able to rest and recharge. I know people that would find the idea of an uneventful break incredibly boring, and I probably will too by the end of my four days at home but right now it is exactly what I need. I'll be ready next Tuesday to be back at college. It is so important for students in college to prioritize their mental health. No grade or internship or career opportunity is worth sacrificing your emotional well-being.
So while some might say I am an introvert and struggle in social situations, I would say I thrive in personal and meaningful ones. I get my energy from being introspective. These are not things you can explain with just one label from a personality test. There is more to our character than that. They may call me an introvert but I refuse to cling to that rigid image of who I am expected to be.