The Introvert’s Guide to Your First Semester of College

Who’s ready for back to school!? This post starts the By Lady Bry Back-to-School series! From now to the end of September, I’m sharing tips on pursuing wellness in college from self care to study habits to productivity tips. Stay tuned for new posts every Friday!

 

“Why are you so quiet?”
"Why are you even here, if you aren't going to talk to people?"
"You need to find a hobby or something, so you can meet people!"
“Have you met someone yet? You should go out more.”
“You haven’t talked that much. What do you think?”
“You need to break out of your shell.”
“Why are you so serious all the time?”

This is my list of things introverts are sick and tired of hearing. (Here’s a few more if you’re interested) If you’re anything like me, I grew up being called quiet and shy, and I hated it. I always felt pressured to be more social and outgoing. I thought something was wrong with me. You could say I was a "closeted introvert." Fast forward to my freshman year of college, someone asked me, whether I was an introvert or extrovert, and I flat out denied the truth. Within a few months, I finally put a name to my personality and accepted who I am: I am Bryana, and I am an introvert.

To the incoming college freshmen and fellow introverts, I’m going to be real with you. (Let's keep it 💯 ) Your first semester is a socially exhausting experience.  From meeting new people to going to parties, finding classes, and juggling group projects, there is an overwhelming amount of pressure to be social. Extroverts make it look easy. Freshmen, I know how you feel. I know what it feels like to sit in your room on a Friday night and watch everyone else go out to parties. I know what it feels like to eat alone in the dining hall. I know what if feels like to sit awkwardly silent in a new classroom with everyone else talking. It feels like crap, but from one introvert to another, I want you to remember:

Nothing is wrong with you. It is okay to be yourself.

College is the time to discover and accept who you really are, as I did. Now, I love who I am and fully embrace being an introvert.  As an one who survived college as an introvert, I’m sharing my best advice tips for surviving your first semester:

Being an Introvert in College

Your First Week

Make friends at your own pace.
Don’t be intimidated by the extroverts who have a ton of friends the first week. Meeting in groups can be overwhelming, so take your time getting to know people one by one. You don’t have to go out to big events to meet people. Start with your peers in your dorm or classes.

Don’t be afraid to say you need alone time.
Be open, honest and shameless about who you are. If they don’t like it, you can find better friends. A real friend will understand.

In Class

Be aware of your participation grade.
As an introvert in the class, I prefer to listen and soak in information visually watching a lecture rather than engage in a class discussion, but as a public relations major, I had no choice. Being an introvert is not a good enough excuse to not talk in class. Professors don’t care. I once had a professor who had a seating chart and counted every single time we talked in class to make our participation grade. (#tbh I did not do well in the class)

That being said, know what percentage of your grade is participation, how and how often your professor wants you to participate. Try your best to meet the minimum requirement.

Visit your professor’s office hours
Important for any college student, going to office hours shows your professors how invested you are in the class. You have the opportunity to get to know your professor and form a relationship that could award you opportunities in the years to come. For introverts, office hours allows you ask questions one-on-one instead of in class where you may not feel comfortable. If you don’t talk a lot in class, visiting your professor shows you are still invested.

In the Dorms & On Campus

Socialize at your own pace.
You don’t have to go to every party or event. You’re not missing out on as much as you think. There’s no point in forcing yourself to go to something if you’re not going to enjoy the event. As an INFJ, I like socializing in moderation. For example, if you invite me to an event on a Friday night, I’ll gladly join you, but don’t ask me to go out the next night. I’m straight up honest with my friends: “Yes, I want to go the movies alone.” “Yes, I want to go grocery shopping alone.” There’s no shame in taking a break or doing something on your own.  

It’s okay to eat alone.
I hated the dining hall my first semester because I thought I could only go there with a group of friends. That was until I realized that, unlike high school, there’s no shame in eating alone at college. Nobody will look at you like you’re sad or weird or lonely. There’s not loser table. Eat wherever you like. 


In other words, you do you boo! Be your beautiful introverted self, and don't let anyone try to change you. To the college freshmen starting this week and in the coming weeks, I wish you all the best. You are going to do amazing. Get ready for some of the best four years of your life.


Thanks for reading! Be sure to share with your fellow freshmen and introverts! Stay tuned for next week's post on A+ study habits.

 
 

6 Secrets to Networking Success

Happy first day of spring also known as the season of job and internship searching! When I first moved to Washington, DC, so many people told me that the key to getting a job here depends on who you know. Fast forward four years, I now understand the importance of networking from meeting people at receptions, job fairs, my church, and many more events. I've learned so much about my field, career advancement and companies I'd want to join. I've learned almost all I know from my university's career center, but speaking from experience, there's so many tricks I wish someone had told me when I started. Check out my six secrets to successful networking: 

Photography by Samuel Zeller


My Networking Prep Checklist

  1. Find out who's attending and research their background on LinkedIn
  2. Print and bring updated business cards with your LinkedIn profile name and/or online portfolio
  3. Prepare and practice your elevator speech and questions
  4. As soon as someone is free, walk right up to them and introduce yourself
  5. If things get awkward, comment on the food.
  6. Follow up within 24 hours via email or LinkedIn

At first, networking can be really scary, but over time, the connections made can be incredible sources of advice and ways to find new opportunities. Well equipped with these tools in your hand, you will have networking success! 

What are your networking success stories? Share in the comments below!