As an introvert, a lot of aspects of university life were pretty terrifying to me. From living with people you don’t know, to being showered with outings to nightclubs and events from societies ... let's just say that the beginning of my university journey was pretty overwhelming for a naturally shy person like me who tries to avoid the outside at all costs.
Nevertheless, you can absolutely thrive as an introvert at university, and here’s how I did it!
Meeting new people
If there’s one guarantee about university life, it’s that there’s typically a very rich social life happening all around you. This can range from club nights and parties to events organised by societies and taking part in team sports. Partying is not for everyone and it’s certainly not my scene, so I delved into joining societies throughout my 1st year.
I got to meet a lot of like-minded people and took part in fun daytime social events, most notable being the LitSoc lunch meet-up at a board games cafe, where we got to eat lunch and play board games!
Volunteering is also a great way to not only make a positive change to society but to meet new people at your own pace. There is a myriad of volunteering opportunities at the University of Bath, which you can learn more about on the Student Union website. For me, volunteering allowed me to give back to those in need, whilst also feeling part of the greater university community and meeting new people without the usual pressure of social events.
Since the main objective is the specified volunteering activity, I didn't experience that awkward moment of standing around and not knowing who to talk to, and I got to organically start a conversation with others!
It definitely was not easy to put myself out there, but never feel like you are alone in being nervous or socially anxious. As freshers, everyone is in the same boat and very likely to welcome conversations and potentially new friendships.
I would be telling a bare-faced lie if I claimed that I never spent some weekends hibernating in my accommodation building. I definitely enjoy my own company a lot of the time, but I had to remind myself that there is a greater world out there than YouTube videos and BBC iPlayer movies.
Living in the city of Bath, there are so many fascinating historical attractions, museums and general activities to experience. The realisation that I was living in a city that thousands of tourists travel far to visit and learn more about gave me the motivation to break out of my comfort zone and explore. My friend and I had a wonderful outing where we visited the numerous historical sites in Bath, some of my personal favourites are The Roman Baths and The Circus.
Moreover, I slowly overcame the tendency to lock myself in my room for long periods of time to study. Everyone's study style is unique and personal to them, but it was surprisingly refreshing to study either by myself or with my friends in the Library, on the grass, or in any other available study spaces. Studying outside of my room isn't something I can do all the time but when I can, simply making the effort to change my environment and/or be around other people, is a great motivator for learning and can also avoid burnout.
I think it's important to consider that there is a variety of experiences people can have at university. Social media and the greater Internet can often paint a monolithic student life that feels isolating and jarring for people with niche interests and different personalities.
A big struggle I faced was the idea that I had to tick off a checklist of events and activities to have the best university experience, but I came to realise that I was trying to be a different person, rather than myself. As corny as it sounds, there is a certain ease I began to feel months into being at university when I started being open about my dorky interests and avoided going to events that to me would feel mentally draining!
The start of my university life has been a tumultuous journey to process and reflect on, and with my destination still far in the distance, it is a journey I am thrilled to continue travelling.