This post is a shoutout to all the introverts! You know who you are. You’ll be glad to know that you’re not alone in this unique experience, and you’ll find that you can actually survive school being your true introverted self while still trying new things and stepping out of your comfort zone a little.
So here’s your guide to surviving high school or university as an introvert!
1. Explore your new surroundings.
Transitioning from primary school to high school, and then from high school to university, is a new and exciting experience (well for extroverts, that is). But as for us introverts, it can be daunting and anxious in trying to navigate an unknown atmosphere while encountering new people you don’t know. So be a bit brave and make time to explore and engage with your new surroundings, whether it’s a tour of the new campus or trying to figure out which room your classes will be in. The sooner you start to orientate yourself, the easier it will be for you to transition out of the unfamiliar phase.
2. Find your safe haven.
As introverts, we love our comfort; we like to stay protected in our own little bubble away from all things unfamiliar to us. Finding a quiet place to cater to your desire to be alone while in a busy environment will be beneficial, so try and look out for your own safe haven or sanctuary within the school; whether it be in a private study area, the library, or on a table bench outside in the courtyard. If you have your special place you can visit anytime you feel like you need some down-time, then you’ll instantly feel more comfortable and relaxed.
3. Find the people who you connect with the best and keep good company.
You’re guaranteed to encounter many different people with unique personalities; and you may befriend both extroverted and introverted people within the same friendship group. This is a great thing if you do! Your extroverted friends can help you come out of your shell and try new things, while you can still relate to your introverted friends about how much you both hate participating to class discussions. The company you keep in high school and university play a big role in the quality of your student life, as they add meaning and comfort to all of your experiences.
4. Join clubs or societies.
If you have a passion or hobby, consider joining a club or society to help nurture your interests. Not only are you enjoying what you’re doing, but you’ll also get to meet and connect with like-minded people who share the same passions as you. This helps you be more engaging within an environment you are comfortable and familiar with. Clubs and societies vary depending on your school or university, but some can include: book club; social justice club; environment club;
performing arts; music and dance; debating team; sports; spiritual ministry; community service; culture and language; politics and activism; and food and drinks.
5. Remember you are strong enough to get through group projects.
Group projects can be intimidating, especially if you’re teamed up with people you don’t know and you’re meant to socialise with them. But all hope is not lost yet! The thing about group projects is that everyone has a clean slate and you’re all beginning to get to know each other. The key to get through group projects is to communicate your ideas with everyone, and for everyone to respect each other’s opinions. A common scenario for an introvert can look like as if you aren’t contributing much at all the project and people can assume that you’re fine to do anything that’s given to you. But if you find that you’re being left with a lot of the responsibility to do most of the work, speak up about it. Divide the work evenly between everyone and make sure work load doesn’t fall unfairly on any one person within the group, especially yourself. Be diplomatic about it and reason out when things seem uneasy for you.
6. Identify other introverts.
If you’re in class and you see someone sitting by themselves and your introvert-o-metre is going off, gather to courage to sit next to them and introduce yourself. Showing your friendly face and smile goes a long way and you never know, you may have very well made a new lifelong friend. Once you start to befriend more people, you become more comfortable and confident in your class because you’re grounded in familiarity with the people you do know.
7. Savour your “me” time.
Introverts like to recharge by spending time by themselves, as it’s what helps them be alone with their own thoughts, feelings and surroundings as they try to unwind after a busy day, and re-energise for the next day. It’s important to save time for yourself throughout your busy school schedule, so whether you like to nap, watch netflix, play piano or read a book, do anything that will help you relax and feel calm.
8. Learn to say “yes”.
Introvert’s are always bound to be pushed out of their comfort zone; sometimes it’s inevitable, and sometime’s it’s because friends or family want us to. It’s okay to feel a bit nervous about saying yes to something you know you’d normally wouldn’t say yes to. Part of growing up in high school and university is trying new things and participating in activities that may challenge you. Learning to say “yes” to good things that will help you grow and learn is great, especially if you’re supported by your friends and family. If your friends invite you to go out with them to a social gathering with people that you haven’t met before, try to weigh out the negatives with more positive notes like hanging out with your friends and enjoying free food and drinks.
9. Be confident to say “no”.
Sometimes introverts can feel cornered in a situation where they feel like if they don’t say yes to something they want to say no to, it’s their fault and guilt can arise. It’s important to never give into peer pressure, especially if it’s something that you don’t want to do. If your friends are going out and you’d rather stay home, just be honest and tell them that you don’t want to go out. Remember that it’s okay to say no, and it always helps to tell the truth about the reason you feel that way. Hiding your true feelings can worry the people closest to you, but if you’re open in telling them you need to have your alone time, they’ll respect and understand your decision.
10. Host an introverted sleepover.
Having a nice night in with a few of your close friends can allow you to be in an environment where you feel 100% comfortable with yourself and the people you’re with. Call your friends for a sleepover and have a tv show or movie marathon while you snack on pizza, nachos, chocolate and ice-cream. I mean come on, everyone loves a marathon with copious amounts of junk food.
11. Communicate your feelings.
A common misunderstanding introverts can encounter is feeling like no one cares or understands when you isolate yourself from people when you’re feeling down. But remember that no one can read your mind, and the key to any healthy friendship or relationship with your friends, family and partners, is that you communicate with them about how you feel if something is bothering you. Remember that opening up about your feelings more can alleviate any feelings of loneliness you may harbour, and this can greatly improve your mental and physical health.
12. Don’t feel guilty about being introverted.
Introverts can tend to feel left out and pressured to “fit in” to the status quo of extroverts. Sometimes it can feel like society likes to point out when we’re quiet, and prod at the reasons as to why we are. But we’re here to remind you that there is nothing wrong with being introverted, and you do not need to feel guilty being your true self. You do not need to give into the peer pressure of anyone and change who you are, because who you are is what makes you so special and unique from everyone else in the world. So embrace your introverted nature and be proud of who you are!
13. If you’re in need of a good pep talk – watch this!
Hopefully you feel a bit more confident to face high school as an introvert after reading through this guide. Remember to be proud of who you are and that you’re not alone in this endeavour! For any questions, head over to our forum where you’ll find our friendly community is happy to help!