Freshman week…weeks? It’s something special, something unique. Being a freshman, full stop, is a really interesting time. On the one hand, you are getting to know lots of new people, starting university and probably living by yourself for the first time. On the other hand, it can get a bit overwhelming. What we are talking about is freshman experiences; something like a freshman week, where events and parties are organized and you are generally just meeting lots of people. But some people, i.e. the introverted college student, might find this a bit daunting.
I would know; I’m writing to you, dear reader, from behind a computer screen. (Okay, it's my job). It’s not that I don’t like people; I love spending time with my friends, and I really like going out occasionally! I just don’t like it all the time, because I need some time to recharge my batteries, and I’m pretty shy. Add a sprinkle of completely-new-environment and a touch of I-don’t-know-anyone-here and hey presto, you’ve got yourself an introvert (me). If you can relate to me, at least on a small level, maybe this is the post for you.
Maybe you’ve heard rumours, or have had friends or siblings that have done it before you. You might think it’s just a week full of partying and drinking. Sometimes, it is! But it’s also a good time to meet like-minded people, get to know your university, and find out more about your campus! Let’s get right into it. Freshman week for the introverted college student: a guide.
What’s an introverted college student?
First, let’s take a look at that word: introvert. An introvert is generally described as someone who is quieter, shy and prefers their own company to others. We just want to say that’s wrong. Literally no two introverts are the same! You can be extremely outgoing, have a huge personality, and love spending time with your friends. Conversely, you may like quite evenings, spending time at home and prefer to be alone. But, at the end of the day, what most introverts have in common is that they need to ‘recharge’. What that means is that, maybe after spending a day socializing or out and about, you need time to yourself because you are ‘socially drained’. And that’s okay. You definitely aren’t anti-social; you just value social connections. The introverted college student likes one-on-one conversations and deep, meaningful relationships. I mean, who doesn’t like that? Maybe, instead of going out 5 times a week, you like going once (and it’s totally cool to be the first type; you do you!).
As you can see, it’s kind of hard to describe an introverted person, because everyone is different! And if you aren’t introverted, that’s totally fine too. That just shows that everyone should be able to do what they want during freshman week, without any pressure. Everyone is on a spectrum, so not one person will feel the same or have the same experience.
Something that an introverted college student may think about freshman week is that it is made out to be a huge deal. If you don’t take part in every little thing or talk to every single person you meet, you are somehow not living your best university life. Well, that’s not true.
Firstly, freshman week is not just designed for extroverts. There are so many opportunities. What's more, if we are being realistic, of course there will be parties, because it's fun and that's just how college is!
The great thing about university, and freshman week, is that a lot of different events are taking place. Sure, you have your big parties and club events. But remember all the other things! Society fairs, society meetups, introduction events and more. Another awesome thing about starting university is that you will meet so many different types of people, meaning you can really choose who you spend your time with.
What we are trying to get at here, is that you don’t have to limit yourself to parties; you can do a number of other things.
For instance, a lot of universities organize fairs or other types of events where you can learn more about student societies. At society, because they are usually very specific or are centred around a specific action, you will meet people who like the same things as you. Of course, joining an art society means you’ll meet other art-lovers like you. Or, joining a soccer club means you’ll meet soccer-fanatics, just like you. Societies are a great place to start out, because you can be sure everyone there will at least have one thing in common with you!
You also have your flatmates; given, you might not always get along. However, they are a great place to start when it comes to meeting new people and making new friends. They can also introduce you to other people in your housing complex, for example!
And don’t forget your course introductions! Many courses, if not all of them, have introduction lectures where they tell you all about your schedules and course content. Even just talking to the person sitting next to you can yield good results. Some courses even have mentor programmes, where you are put in a group with other students and an older mentor. This is one of the great things about studying in Holland. Or, you might have introduction activities. All of these are simple ways to meet new people and form new friendships!
On the subject of going out
Going out is a huge part of university culture in general, and it’s heightened during the first few weeks. This is because you don’t have classes yet, and everyone is excited to meet new people. Going out can be really fun, and could even be a way to meet some friends. However, no one will pressure you to go if you don’t want to. In my personal opinion, I think trying to go out once, or maybe a few times, won’t hurt you. If you like it, great! If you don’t, then don’t do it again! It’s extremely simple, right?
‘First impressions count’
To a degree, yes. Sure, the first time you meet someone or someone meets you, there are certain things you notice. You don't want to be rude, dismissive, or plain mean. But, to be honest, you’ll meet so many people… so many that they won’t remember you and you won’t remember them. Once you really get to know someone, your first impressions don’t really matter much. Quality friendships will only form when you are being yourself; don’t try to be extroverted when you really aren’t. Well, you can try, but you shouldn’t feel the need to change yourself. Most people skip between friends groups anyways, because the people you meet in August aren’t always the people you stick with afterwards.
Don’t worry, you’ll meet people (so don’t stress).
In conclusion, yes, freshman week can be daunting to an introverted college student. But it doesn’t have to be! There are three general rules that you could follow:
- If you don’t want to do it, don’t do it.
- There are lots of different types of activities- society fairs, introductions, parties. You can pick and choose.
- And don’t stress, because you will meet people. It's a fact.
We wish you good luck in your freshman week, it will be a blast!
Do you have any tips for the introverted college student? What were your best memories from freshman year?