To be completely honest…I am an extreme introvert.
Anything that involves stepping out of my comfort-zone, meeting new people, conversations, and, even affection, freak me out. So, imagine my fear, four years ago, of starting college!
It didn’t hit me during that summer leading up to my first semester, mainly because I was too busy thinking about all of the freedom that I would have being out of my parent’s house. But, what is funny is, I never thought about how I would get to that “freedom” in college. Getting to that “freedom” meant having to step out of that comfort-zone and trying new things and meeting new people….two things, which, if you haven’t noticed by now, are super hard for me to do.
Since I am entering my last semester of undergrad, and will soon have 4 1/2 years of college experience, I have decided to share a few things that I have learned.
- Bonding with your roommate (If you can)
Now, there have been many horror stories about roommates, but I have to say that I have had great luck in that category. My first roommate, who will be named A, was the perfect match for me. We were so similar that it was pretty scary (from personality, to the decorations that we chose for our dorm, even to the movies we liked). Having a great relationship with my roommate made it easier to get out of my dorm, instead of moping around.
The only downside about our relationship is that we were both extreme introverts; we never pushed each other to try new things. We were content to stay in at nights and on the weekends having movie nights and watching Netflix. Now, not that staying in is a bad thing…but it can be unhealthy if that is all that you do. I can honestly say that I had two friends freshmen year: A, and another girl that will be named J, who I knew from high school. One regret that I have from my freshmen year is that I was so willing to just stick with my comfort-zone that I was too afraid to make connections with anyone else that I met.
Don’t make the same mistake that I did.
2. Go to on-campus events
It seems like every few weeks my campus is having one event after another, especially for the new freshmen or transfer students. I can say that A and I went to a lot of these events, whether a game night or magic show was being presented, or if there was a movie screening (it was at these screenings that I realized that I was neither a fan of the Great Gatsby nor Pitch Perfect). The important thing to remember about attending these events is that you never know who you are going to meet. It’s possible that you could meet your best friend, or find your soul mate…but if you opt not to go, you’d never know.
3. Join Organizations
Freshmen year of College, I literally joined every organization that I could…it was unbelievable. Black Student Union, Economics Club, Accountancy…you name it, I was there. These organizations literally became rich due to the fact that I was always paying dues…it’s funny just to think about it.
But, freshmen year is the time to do that. Join everything that seems interesting. This is an easy way to socialize and be noticed. It also is a way to find out what you are passionate about.
Sophomore year is the time to join things that you really care about…meaning: narrow down your Freshmen year list. Interested in community service, join Habitat for Humanity. #BlackLivesMatter? Join National Council of Negro Women or Black Student Union. Religious? Join any Bible based (Quran Based or Torah Based) organization. Joining organizations that really speak to you helps you to “find your place” on campus, and allows you to surround yourself with like-minded people.
4. Show yourself friendly
It wasn’t until college that I realized that I had a condition called Extreme Resting Bitch Face (ERBF).
…let’s just say that that’s not the best thing to have when you’re trying to make friends. Showing yourself as a friendly person (and being genuine about it) is very important. It is important because (and I have recently realized that) many people, whether they are social butterflies and social hermits, have the same thoughts as you about meeting other people…
“Are they going to like me?”
I’m sorry, but if you have ERBF, the likelihood of even the most socialist-of-social people won’t want to talk to you. Therefore, learn the Power of the Smile. Like one great person (whoever he or she was) said, “A smile can go a long way”. And, my dear, when it comes to making friends (and acquaintances), that statement is very true.
It wasn’t until my Sophomore year that I made more of an attempt to make more friends. Now, my dear, I wouldn’t recommend you wait so long. Because, it is by this time that groups of friends are already formed, which makes it even harder to become friends with everyone in the group (sometimes). But fortunately, I reconnected with a few people that I had met in passing Freshmen year, and formed relationships. Best thing that I could have done, especially since EVERY SINGE LAST ONE OF THEM are extroverts. Just being friends with them allowed me to push past my comfort zone somewhat. And it all started with that first party…..dun dun dunnnnnnn
5. Go to Parties/Kickbacks
This is, was, and forever will be the hardest thing for me:
(a) Because I am Not a twerker. I have to quickly remind the fine gentlemen at a party to find someone else before they become disappointed in the fact that I do not twerk.
(b) Because I am surrounded by Extroverts. Any introvert knows that, when being surrounded by extroverts in excess, it can be a bit much to handle.
Now, I may be asked, “Well why do you even go if you feel this way?”
Well, because I go for the enjoyment of being around my girl friends. The whole prepping before the party (the make-up, the “I don’t know what to wear!”, the pulling together of outfits at the last minute, the blasting of music and taking shots…responsibly of course) are all a huge bonding moment. The funniest things that can be observed amongst friends occurs in the preparation to go out.
And while at the party, I’m not there solely to dance on guys. I am really just there to vibe and have a good time with my girls.
6. Stop being Afraid
So, you have an awkward moment when talking to someone. You may fumble and stutter your words, or you may say the wrong things…SO WHAT? Don’t let one instance determine your whole social experience. Trust me, the more people you talk to, the easier it will become.
Never Be Afraid to eat alone. Trust me…no one cares! This isn’t High School. No one is thinking, “Wow, look at that loner over there!”
But, when invited to eat with a group, don’t decline. You never know; the people you’re eating with could become your life-long friends.
Lastly, concerned about being in a social setting and feeling awkward? This happens to me often. But, what helps me is the Power of Force. I literally force myself to (a) walk up to strangers and introduce myself, or (b) find a familiar face, do the typical “Hey girl! How are you?”. Once that introduction is done and the ice is broken, I then introduce myself to who ever she was talking to and start conversation that way.
These are definitely just a few of the tips that I have. If you are interested, I most definitely have more = )
I hope that this blesses someone.
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Peace&Blessings from yesterday and Beyond