Leaving home and going to university can be a pretty daunting task, being away from friends, family and the area you know. This is especially true for the roughly 50% of students who are introverted, which often can lead to difficultly fitting in with the stereotypical student crowd.
Luckily for you, after 4 years of social awkwardness, several friendships coming and going, and a lot of poor decisions, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks about how to meet people, make friends and have a pretty active social life, while still being the quiet, socially awkward introvert I am. Here’s my top 5!
1. Join at Least 3 Clubs
This is literally the best piece of advice I can give. Within the first week or 2 of your university experience there will probably be some kind of Society/Club fayre. Attend it, and bring pound coins for membership fees. Have a look at all the different clubs available and find at least 3 that at least hold your interest a little. Then attend the first few meetings of each, chat to a few people and keep going to the clubs you enjoy. I joined 3, dropped 1 after a week, dip in and out of another from time to time, and after 4 years am now running the 3rd.
2. Know Your Limits
Alcohol is a fairly integral part of most people’s experience, if you don’t drink that’s totally fine too, but you can skip to number 3. It’ll help bring you out of your shell, but you need to know your own limits. There will always be that one person who drinks themselves into oblivion and causes problems for everyone, begging people to buy them drinks and constantly needing supervision in case they do something stupid. Don’t let that person be you, people will get bored of it pretty quickly and you’ll alienate all but your closest friends.
3. The Buddy System
This may sound really cliche, but find a friend who is more confident and more extroverted than you. They could be someone you live with, someone on your course or a member of one of the clubs you join, it really doesn’t matter. But taking part in group conversations and getting to know people, is much easier if you don’t feel like you’re going into everything alone.
4. Alone Time is Key
Being around people all the time can be really exhausting, so finding some time to relax on your own is definitely important. Find something you can do that keeps your brain occupied, while still letting your batteries recharge. I personally go for a walk by myself, and listen to music, for at least an hour each day. I know people who do creative thing like making jewellery or drawing, and some read books. I cannot stress this point enough though. Screen time doesn’t count; it stimulates your brain in the wrong way and doesn’t help.
5. Expand Your Horizons
Your comfort zone is that little bubble around you that you’ll constantly feel safe in, everybody has one, and they’re all different. Something that I feel is really important for many people at university is to try to make this bubble grow. It’s not always easy, but in the long run it’s definitely worth the effort. Start slow; don’t be afraid to try new things. But don’t bow to peer pressure, if something makes you really uncomfortable you don’t have to do it.
6. Enjoy Yourself
I know I said this would be 5 tips, but here’s a bonus one for those that read this far. Make sure whatever you do, you enjoy yourself University is about the experience having fun just as much as it is about learning, don’t forget that.