Written by Diana Davis '22

Being an introvert in a world built for extroverts is a struggle, to say the least. It seems like every aspect of life, especially in college, is surrounded by “putting yourself out there” or “trying and talk to everyone,” which is all good advice… for an extrovert. Sometimes these tips are inevitable and actually do work, but, honestly, “putting myself out there” is becoming a part of my villain origin story. But don’t worry, college is fun, even for the most introverted person out there, and I’m here to tell you how to obtain that.

1. Join clubs.

This might be self-explanatory, and it might sound like I’m going against what I just said in the intro paragraph. But seriously, this was the easiest way for me to get involved at school. My first week freshman year, I went to the Activities Fair on campus and signed up for all of the clubs I thought were interesting. Not all of these clubs stuck through my career at Cumberlands, but they gave me the opportunity to meet people with interests similar to mine. The Campus Activities Board really made me step out of every comfort zone I had and granted me fun opportunities and great friends.

2. Engage in class.

Again, breaking out of comfort zones here. Classes here are relatively small and get even smaller as you break into upper level courses. Asking questions, participating in group discussions, and joining study sessions helped me so much with becoming comfortable presenting in classes, and they gave me a lot of “study buddies.” And class discussions often lead to out-of-class discussions and developing a security net during midterms and finals. Trust me, you’ll want those.

3. Keep headphones.

In the dorms, in between classes, eating alone – all of these situations for me require headphones. A big part of being introverted is liking alone time. That’s hard to come by in college, especially with roommates. Being able to block out noise (noise cancelling earbuds have been my best investment) is crucial to staying sane in an extrovert’s world. I love sitting in common areas with my headphones. I’m still involved and can talk to people, but drowning out the noise with my favorite podcasts is unmatched.

4. Set boundaries.

I feel like saying “no” is a very difficult task for introverts. Being a people pleaser is a blessing and a curse. Setting clear boundaries and sticking to them is important for being successful in your college career. Introverts especially need time dedicated to recharging our “social batteries.” Don’t be afraid to say no. If you’re always the “yes man,” that semester burnout will hit you hard.

5. Manage time effectively.

I love having alone time and being fully in control of what I make of my time. That also means you have to manage your own time. It’s easy to stay focused on the task at hand when working with study partners, but studying alone is just better sometimes. It’s easy to get off topic when you’re alone. Dedicate certain time periods to your schoolwork to ensure you don’t get behind in classes.

Whether you’re extroverted or introverted, college can be difficult for anyone to adjust to. It can be the greatest experiences of your life; you just have to let it. Moral of the story: have fun and study hard. There’s not a wrong way to do college if you keep those points in mind.