It’s strange when you first get to university. It can feel like a very forced, social environment and you can often feel like an alien from another planet if you have a quiet, reserved personality. Everyone else is so social and happy, how do they do it? In fact, why do they do it? If you’ve ever felt like this, then this is the article for you. Here’s how to survive university as an introvert.
Pretend to socialize just enough so that people don’t think your rude
As an introvert you’ll hate small talk. After all, it’s completely unnecessary and generally a waste of time and valuable energy. However, if you’ve ever seen that look of disgust from a shopkeeper when you don’t ask them how their day is going, then you’ll understand that idle chit chat is a sort of pre-requisite for human socialisation (unfortunately). Now as an introvert it can seem perfectly normal to walk into your shared kitchen, make a sandwich and then go back to your room. However, for your extroverted flatmates, that’s not quite the case. Generally, for some odd reason people tend to perceive others as rude or pretentious if they don’t engage in day-to-day chit chat with people. It really sucks because as an introvert you’ll enjoy deep conversations about topics, however talking about the weather or the weekend proves tiresome.
I personally have mastered the art of engaging in just the absolute bare minimum of pointless socialisation that you possibly can, whilst still coming across as human. It’s simply a matter of finding that balance. You will have to force yourself to ask your uni mates about their day-to-day lives, or what they had for dinner last night, just to keep yourself within the social spectrum. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to go to all the parties, it’s just supposed to be ‘polite’. Baffling, I know…
Master the art of small talk
It can seem disheartening when you see extroverts running around with all their extroversion, talking about the weather and current events with such ease. You can often feel like an alien, as if you missed the tutorial level on human interaction. Not to fear. If small talk is just plain confusing for you, then not to worry, it can be mastered as if it was a science. There’s tonnes of resources out there to learn communication skills. A big one for small talk is the ‘FORD method’.
(Looking up a tutorial video on social interaction is such an introverted thing to do)
Take time to recharge
It’s well known that introverts need time to recharge after intense social situations. This is due to the chemical dopamine in the brain, which is stimulated when we interact with others. Introverts are more sensitive to this chemical, so that means they can become burnt out and tired after extended period of interacting with others. The best solution to this, is to simply take time to rest between these periods of communicating with others. Even if this means going for a walk, or even just hiding away in the bathroom for a few minutes to take a breather. It still makes that little bit of difference. Just make sure you don’t make it obvious or people that thinking that you have a drug problem. Ah, the struggles of introversion.
Find introverted friends
It’s easy to feel quite alone and misunderstood being in university as an introvert. This is why the single-handed, sure-fire way to make it through, is to find yourself some friends that are similar to you. The best way to do this, is to get yourself involved in societies that revolve around your hobby or passion. The idea behind this is that you will be able to find like minded people to engage in your hies with rather than becoming too solitary and slightly isolated, which is a danger when being introverted.
All in all…
It’s can be a difficult life for an introvert, especially in a hyper-social environment such as university. However, if you keep your wits about you and stay true to your own biological nature, then you’ll be okay… Just make sure to recharge.