University is an excellent opportunity for meeting new, like-minded people. Through societies and classrooms, it is a breeding ground for social interactions that can very well lead to further long lasting friendships and future networking. It is highly encouraged that you make every possible effort to grab these opportunities and milk every single bit of benefit from it.
However, social interaction is not always for everyone. In a world where being “social” is the key to being successful, some very thoughtful individuals get lost in all of the social butterflies. These people are commonly known as Introverts.
Introverts are identified by their preferences to focus on internal things like thoughts and feelings rather than seek external simulation through conversation and friendship building. These traits do not mean that an introvert is anti-social, but commonly, they are known for being reserved, quiet and introspective. Extroverts are their opposites which are those who focus on conversation and things outside of them rather than their thoughts.
Radar met with someone who considers themselves an introvert and had a conversation about this. The person we met with, who wished to remain anonymous, spoke particularly about making friends at university in his first year: “Making friends at University was hard, and I did not make any in my first year due to this desire to always be on my own and count on my thoughts to bring me happiness,”
There are various negative connotations attached to introversion such as a distaste for humankind as a whole and anti-social behaviour. He laughed when reminded of this and added to his claim: “ Not because I am an unpleasant person or anything, I am just more focused on being on my own and thinking about things my way than conversing with other people. It is my nature, and I feel like I am in my element when I am alone with my thoughts.”
When asked if he truly enjoyed alone time over company and he added: “All that doesn't mean I didn't want the company of others and I did not crave it from time to time. Those reasons are why in second year, I made every possible opportunity to join every society I had avoided from the previous year,”
He was incredibly delighted to say: “If I had not pushed myself, I would not be taking part in this interview. I would not be enjoying a blossoming, and tiring, social life. Introversion is not an excuse for not engaging with others at University. As much as I love being on my own, I would miss the social events and parties I have been invited to through these new experiences,”
These social traits are part of the human condition, but you can choose to work outside of it. It is essential to push yourself if you are struggling to make friends but aren't making any effort to make friends. Join a society and attend at least one meeting. Find something you are interested in and find others who are interested in it to have interactions with.
However, it is okay to take a break when social interaction is too much. Be alone for a night if you need to, because, introverts need to be alone now and then. Even just going to one meeting and exchanging facebook's with one other person is a step in the right direction.
When asking him if he had any advice for any students who are introverted and if it gets in the way of social life, he said: “There's no magic potion into making friends when being social isn't your highest or most desired point. All it takes is time and patience while getting to know potential friends but I can promise you this; stepping out of my introversion and making friends has been one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. I have met some of the most amazing people and I only wish I'd done it sooner.”