There’s no doubt starting university is terrifying, and, for me, it felt like I had drawn all the short straws.
Not only was I living at home, I don’t drink, and I’m incredibly introverted. So, what are you supposed to do when freshers’ week is pretty much one big party filled with endless socials and drinking? Well, here’s the good news — university has a place for everyone.
If you’re yet to start university, the most daunting thing can be freshers’ week. You won’t know anybody, everything seems to be happening at once, and if you’re living away from home you’ll probably get a little homesick.
Whether you’re living in halls or at home, friends play a huge part at university. As an introvert, the idea of constant social interaction can seem like a nightmare, and how do you explain to someone you’re drained of energy and just want to be alone for a while without ruining that oh-so-important first impression you’ve spent that last 20 minutes building up?
Despite introverts being an incredibly common personality type, it’s one that is often misinterpreted as awkward, anti-social, or straight up rude. While this isn’t often the case and I’m here to offer so advice, and hopefully make my fellow introverts feel better. I’m in my final year at the University of Nottingham and I have to say, freshers’ week, for me, was tricky.
I didn’t go to many socials, or events, but don’t worry if your freshers’ week doesn’t go to plan — there’s always time to make your mark. While it’s true that the opening weeks of uni are a time when everyone is trying to build friendship groups and make the most of their newfound freedom, there’s always a chance to make up for lost time.
A good tip would be to follow your university’s social media accounts and they’ll keep you updated with freshers’ events, important information, and much more. Alternatively, you can always try and find the people sharing your halls on Facebook, or the people taking your degree. You don’t have to wait for the uni year to start the socialising.
In all honesty, my freshers’ wasn’t great. Commuting to university made it difficult to attend socials and make friends, and living out of halls meant that I wasn’t in a constant student environment. However, once lectures start, you realise that it’s just as easy to make small talk (if you feel up to it) with the people around you.
I understand small talk isn’t always fun, and let’s be honest, it doesn’t always end with the best results — as I learned the hard way. During an induction lecture, I went to casually ask a fellow English student if she was single or joint honours (I’m a joint honours student), but went on to ask, ‘are you single?’ without adding on the joint honours part at th end. Yes, I had just awkwardly asked someone if she was single by accident.
My friend laughed so hard she cried and I embarrassed myself, but two years later it still makes a good story. So, if you’re like me and small talk isn’t your thing, well, you’re in luck as there’s many other ways to make friends. At least every university has societies and there’s bound to be something for you. The best thing about societies is that there’s no real commitment — you can go to their events as much or as little as you want!
While being an introvert will make your university experience uniquely different, don’t let it stop you from having some fun. After all, it’s your university experience, so don’t feel bad for skipping events, wanting some personal space, or not going out at all. It’s your university experience — do it your way!
If my words haven’t convinced you enough, here’s a great Ted Talks video embracing the power of introverts.