Talking Points

happy introverted female student at university

An introvert’s survival guide to university

You’ve landed a place at your university of choice — well done. Now comes the harder bit — all that socialising!

Going to university is all about meeting new people and making new friends, after all.

Life as an introverted student can be tough, so we’ve put together this guide to help you navigate your way through the overstimulating world of university life.

What is an introvert?

A common misconception is that introverted means shy. That is not true.

Introverted people get their energy from spending time alone, whereas extroverted people build energy from spending time with others.

Introversion and extroversion are two ends of a spectrum, and so it is possible to be mildly introverted or very introverted — or somewhere in-between.

Just because an introvert needs alone time to recharge their batteries doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy socialising.

With the right company, some introverts will come across as extroverted! Some people identify as introverted extroverts, in fact.

If you feel you’re somewhere on the introverted end of the spectrum, it is absolutely nothing to worry about — we are all on the introvert/extrovert spectrum somewhere.

Also, don’t worry — you can still enjoy uni just as much as the most extroverted extroverts!

We’ve written some tips to help you get the most out of your university experience.

Stay true to yourself

A happy introverted university student using her laptop

Being a student comes with a certain amount of peer pressure from extroverts, some of whom love spending every minute of the day with others.

To fit in and avoid having to explain yourself, it can seem the easier option to go along with the plans of the housemate or friend who shouts the loudest. Don’t.

If you would much rather stay in and spend some time in your room watching Netflix in your PJs, then do it. Your mental wellbeing will thank you for it.

If your housemates and new friends don’t understand why you don’t want to hang out all the time, explain that you’re an introvert and send them a link to this article!

Open communication is the best route to go with your new friends, as it removes any chance of misassumptions that you are avoiding anyone.

However, do bear in mind that it’s not healthy to hide away in your room all semester with no human interaction, so aim for a balance of socialising and alone time.

Leave your comfort zone

While I wouldn’t suggest you often socialise when you don’t want to, it can be good for you to occasionally push your boundaries and go out when you want to stay in by yourself.

This is more important when you first start university, as this is when you’ll be wanting to make friends — however, don’t feel you need to attend every single Freshers’ Week event.

These days, there’s a lot more to Freshers’ Week than just partying, so why not tag along to one of the other activities instead? There is plenty to choose from!

Don’t feel you need to pretend to be an extrovert at uni — just be your awesome self.

A happy African American introverted university student

Elevate your small talk

Most introverts despise small talk, and some will do anything to avoid it. Yep, that includes purposely missing the bus just to avoid that chatty lady at the bus stop!

However, if you can turn small talk into more meaningful conversation, not only will you find it more enjoyable, but you may also develop some deeper friendships through it.

Give it a go next time you’re in a small talk situation — you may surprise yourself.

Organise social events

Socialising the way others want to socialise can be exhausting, especially if it involves small talk and meeting lots of new people at once.

Instead, consider organising your own social events. This way you can do exactly what you want to do and with the people you choose.

Plan a gathering at your student accommodation to play board games or watch the latest Netflix series, enjoy a cinema trip, or share a meal out with a few people you connect well with.

As you get to know people, you may find that those you connect best with won’t drain your energy as much as those you don’t. Spend your social time wisely and maximise your energy.

A happy introvert university student using her mobile phone

Express yourself

Just because you’re an introvert doesn’t mean you’re shy, so why not put yourself out there — with public speaking or journalism, for example.

Some people might be shocked to hear this but introverts make excellent public speakers and this is because it involves delivering a presentation to a room, rather than interacting with anyone.

Public speaking can be broken down into preparation and delivery, both of which are skills anyone can have, regardless of where they find their energy.

Introverts are excellent listeners and are often able to focus purely on the information they are delivering rather than the public speaking aspect.

Introverts can achieve anything extroverts can, so if you want it — go get it!

If you’d like more university advice, we have plenty of blog posts for you, such as how to feel less lonely at university and why you need to join a university society.

If you’re looking for student accommodation in Leeds, we offer a wide range of rooms and house shares located in all the best student areas.

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