January 16, 2016, by Emma
Surviving University as an Introvert
Watching Antoinette’s latest video about her Autumn semester made me realise how different her first term was from mine. Whilst she was looking forward to coming back to uni after the Christmas holidays, and seemed to have fully got herself involved in university life, by the end of my first term, I was an emotionally exhausted mess who couldn’t wait to come home for Christmas where I could finally be my weird weird self again. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy my first term here at Nottingham, I just don’t think I got as much out of it as my rather more extroverted peers. However one year later I’m much happier, with some lovely housemates and some hobbies I actually look forward to going to! So if any guide can provide you with the information you need on how to survive university when you value a night in just as much as a night out, it’s this one!
Seek out alternative hobbies
Even before starting university, I always knew I was never gonna be the social sec of the netball team. But it still took me time to find out what sort of things I wanted to do with my free time- I joined the society for my course, but the socials they organised just weren’t really my thing. However, later on in the term I started going to the board game society, and whilst I did ultimately eventually stop going, it really showed me the breadth of societies the student’s union has to offer, and for an introvert like myself, it’s nice to know that socialising doesn’t always have to be a wild night out on the town- it can be a quiet night in playing board games instead!
In the same vein, I also started volunteering, teaching a drama club at a local primary school. This was a great way to get out of the house whilst my friends were in lectures and I enjoyed it more because there was no pressure to be cool, or to make loads of friends, because that wasn’t what I was there for. I was there to teach the kids and for me this meant I could just relax and be myself, without worrying about how I came across. If teaching isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other ways to volunteer for the university and as anyone will tell you, it looks great on your CV.
Be Patient with Friendships
One particularly nice moment in first year was when I realised that whilst I was spending all of my time trying to forge and strengthen friendships with people in halls, I’d fallen into an easy comfortable friendship with a girl on my course. We’d panic about coursework deadlines together, we’d eat quiche together inbetween lectures, it was the real deal. And the nicest thing about it was that I wasn’t trying. We’d just naturally and easily fallen into this friendship. So if you don’t think you’ve found your lifelong buddies just yet, just be patient, because you might have already found them without realising! And if you haven’t, there’s still time. Also, if you’re really desperate for friendships, take a language module because people have to talk to you there right?! (No joke, this works.)
Give yourself a break
I mean this in both senses of the phrase. University can be exhausting, even for the outgoing, so if you’ve been going out every night and need a break, stay in! And if you’ve been staying in every night and still need a break, stay in again! You do you, don’t feel like you have to be outgoing to get the most of your university life, and don’t let people make you feel boring for enjoying life your own way. Sometimes staying in is the best decision of all.
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