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An Introvert’s Perspective on Navigating College

CollegeQuest
Macmillan Employee
Macmillan Employee
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It seems like a picture taken right out of a movie. Loud cheers from college students in matching shirts and holding signs greet the flock of cars that have lined up at the entrance of my university. A new start. A new journey. These were the first thoughts I had as I entered my freshman year 4 years ago.

Photo credit: SDI Productions/Getty ImagesPhoto credit: SDI Productions/Getty Images

It seems like a picture taken right out of a movie. Loud cheers from college students in matching shirts and holding signs greet the flock of cars that have lined up at the entrance of my university. A new start. A new journey. These were the first thoughts I had as I entered my freshman year 4 years ago. 

What had initially been a wonderful opportunity to meet new people outside of my high school community became a new challenge as I navigated freshman orientation on my own. As the kind of introvert that struggles with introducing myself or striking up a conversation with anyone, that first week of college felt neverending. Everywhere I looked, there seemed to be a new group of freshmen who found a solid group of friends who seemed to be what all the shows I watched growing up depicted: people in cool clothes, laughing at one another’s jokes, and genuinely enjoying one another’s presence (or so I thought). 

For a while, I found myself dreading my introvertedness as it seemed like a hindrance to finding friendships. There were many instances where I subconsciously changed the way I spoke, feigned interest in what others brought up, and it quickly dawned on me that playing a part was exhausting and lonely. 

Still determined to meet new people, I wanted to be truly intentional with my next steps. Despite my fears, I decided to take a risk and get involved with some student groups, even taking on some leadership positions through on-campus jobs. Through these jobs and opportunities, I met my favorite co-workers, staff, faculty, and even the best people to sing with. 

If you find yourself wanting to take that leap, these were some helpful tools I found in finding community:

  • Walking through Involvement/Club Fairs! - These can seem scary, especially talking to new people, but I found that searching up some existing clubs on campus through the university website and social media before going to these fairs gave me an idea of what I might be interested in.
  • On-Campus Jobs - Not only did I get to meet peers across different majors, but it also helped me to understand the overall university culture at my school, helping me to feel more at home on campus. 
  • Campus Events - Whether it’s free food, a panel, or even getting to learn a dance with fellow students, these events are a great way to meet new people, or even ask about opportunities both on-campus and beyond! These events gave me a break in the midst of heavy study sessions too.

As someone who is still very much an introvert (most of my friends are fellow introverts as well!), I can say that finding community in college took some time and care, and I cherish the friends who reciprocated intentionality as well. While we certainly aren’t the kind of friends you see portrayed in movies, we all get to carry a story of our own, celebrating our highs and lows, battling loneliness, and what it truly means to be a friend. 


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WRITTEN BY
Bernadine Landicho

Bernardine Landicho is a new grad, recently earning her BA in Psychology. Rekindling her love for her hometown, you can find her boba-shop hopping around the Bay Area. These days, she’s jumped back to old hobbies like writing songs and dancing, especially if any ATEEZ or Seventeen songs are playing.