The hard work has paid off as you open your acceptance letter to see unconditional offer. You’ve moved into your student accommodation – ensuite – great choice. But hang on, you’re an introvert…

All those stories you heard about student life you soon find weren’t myths. Yes, how first year is just wasted by getting drunk, sleeping with your roommate and in some cases your best mates partner – Ouch. Meeting your course mates, speaking to your neighbours about the motive for Friday – everywhere you turn there’s an opportunity for a conversation!

However not everyone is cut out for that type of life. The idea of socialising around the clock could send an introvert into a meltdown! And it isn’t easy being an introvert at university – a ‘social haven’ as much as an educational institute.

Not only exists the need for space but there’s the constant misjudgement of being stuck-up, cold and weird amongst many other labels all simply because you’re not engaging as much as other students.

Introverts are often labelled as ‘loners’ which isn’t the case at all. Being an introvert doesn’t mean you do not value friendships or love being by yourself all the time. Introverts need space to recharge their batteries. And it’s common knowledge being around large groups of people and those they don’t know very well can over-stimulate an introvert.

The healthy balance between experiencing student life and the need for private space can become overwhelming for the introvert. This usually comes down to meeting ‘requirements’ of what other’s expect us to be like. Trying your best to fit in with those around you, the fear of missing out, dealing with the constant misjudgement and so on.

But it doesn’t need to be overwhelming. You’re probably wondering how. The first step is being truthful with yourself, try to forget and if you can’t forget – IGNORE what everyone tells you about university. Let go of the notion that you’ll meet your best-friends here at university – it will happen naturally if it is meant to be.

Once you’ve either forgotten or ignored the expectations and stories – it’s easier to focus on what YOU want to get out of your first year and more importantly it releases the tension which can come with being an introverted person.

For a minute forget the word ‘introvert’ and say to yourself – “this is me, I like spending my time alone”, “I enjoy a one-to-one conversation rather then being in a big group” or “I prefer a night out once in a blue moon”.

If there is one thing I learnt it is being unapologetically yourself and confident about it is the quickest way for others to understand that spending a week by yourself is nothing personal against them.

Remember everyone you meet will judge you. Even the loudest of extroverts get judged. Being judged is part of the package even your tutors will judge you. So even if you do find yourself being the awesome you and still judged for it – shrug it off.

Own who you are proudly.

Take a look at our First Year Tips if you’re heading off to university this year!

Written by Iyabowale Fadare