Do you find yourself full of dread every time you’re invited to a social occasion? When you’re at a party, do you spend the whole time thinking about how much you’d rather be in bed with a nice hot chocolate and a movie? You, my friend, are probably an introvert.

An introvert is someone (like myself) who is most relaxed in their own company, in the comfort of their own environment. Too much simulation exhausts us, and we find ourselves shying away from opportunities to leave the house. For many introverts, the social world of university seems like a nightmare, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Here are five tips to help you not hate three years of your life.

  1. Make some extroverted friends:

I cannot stress this point enough. Extroverts are the opposite of us introverts (they love social situations and are at their best while surrounded by people), so they may not understand your need for alone time every now and again, but that’s a good thing. You need a friend who can drag you out of bed, throw some clothes at you and tell you that you’re leaving the house today. This is coming from someone who’s friend once showed up at 8PM and dragged her on a night out completely out of the blue. I was pretty annoyed but, honestly, it was one of the best nights out I’ve ever had. Spontaneous moments like these are what makes life great, and you need the right people around you to help you live your life right.

  1. Push yourself…:

Introverts generally like consistency. We like knowing that after a day of working, we can have our time for relaxation and personal space. Unfortunately, university doesn’t take that into account; you can often find yourself sat in the library working long past midnight, with all thoughts of downtime well and truly gone. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing to have a system; but if you’ve got work to do, you can’t just pack it all in because it’s time for you to watch that episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. that you’ve already seen six times. University is the time to take yourself out of your comfort zone, so make the most of it.

  1. …But know your limits:

That being said, don’t work yourself into the ground. It may seem like you’re up to your eyes in deadlines, but you’ve got to make some time during the day to relax. Even if it’s just for 20 minutes every now and again while you’re working. When you’ve finished your assignment give yourself a day or two to relax, or just do some work which isn’t so mentally draining. Trust me, stressing yourself out will only make matters worse – take a breather for a second.

  1. Speak up!:

Every one of my school reports when I was growing up all said the same thing: “she’s a smart girl, but she needs to talk more in class.” It’s a hard thing to do but, surprisingly, it’s much easier in university. Generally, lecturers are actually interested in what you think about the subject, how you interpreted the readings, what your reaction was to what they just showed you; and a lot of students are pretty clueless about what is happening; so, if you get it, you’d be doing everyone a favour by speaking up. After all, seminars are a lot less painful when you don’t avoid eye contact with the lecturer and pretend you can’t hear them.

  1. People aren’t as scary as you think:

Most people go to university not knowing anyone, so we all want to make friends. It may seem daunting but try speaking to someone first, even if it’s just asking for help with something – you’re opening up that magical doorway of communication and now they know that you’re approachable; you’d be surprised what can come from being approachable. You guys may not become best friends instantly, but you’re putting in some work on your much-needed communication skills, and that’s always a bonus.

These few tips may seem simple, but they’re absolutely vital to not becoming a complete hermit at university. You’re not likely to magically morph into a social butterfly, but a not completely lonely caterpillar is at least on the horizon.

If you need more advice, have a read of our 5 tips to beat social anxiety