"I Just Wanted To Stay In My Room For A Night": An Introverted Student's Guide to Freshers
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If you’re due to start university this September, then the most daunting thing that may be on your mind is fresher’s week. You’re thrown into getting to know people you live with, those within your accommodation, you’ll be experiencing a new place and new things.
This can be nerve wracking for anyone, but for those who are an introvert, these social interactions can prove to be a nightmare. But don’t worry, we’ve put together this helpful guide to getting through freshers for those who have an introverted personality type.
Trust us, there’s a place for everyone at university and fresher’s week, you’ll have a great time with our advice!
What Is An Introvert?
An introvert is a person with qualities of a personality type called introversion, which means they are someone who prefers calm environments with a small number of people rather than parties or large gatherings, which extroverted individuals enjoy.
If you’re an introverted person, that doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy socialising in small amounts, but you may feel your social battery has run out after being out causing you to feel drained.
Many introverts prefer quiet and solitary activities like reading, writing, playing games or drawing to name a few. Having this personality type is perfectly fine though, in fact they make up an estimated 25% to 40% of the population!
Tips To Follow During Freshers
As tempting as a night watching your favourite TV show on Disney+ may seem, you’ve got a whole year to do that, instead try to make friends and push yourself to go beyond your comfort zone during freshers’ week.
That being said, here’s our advice on how you can cope with the iconic university welcome week as an introvert.
1. Get To Know Your Flatmates
This may seem like obvious advice but getting to know the people you live with on day 1 will help you out massively if you’re feeling anxious about freshers. Your flat will be a smaller circle for you to get to know the people you’ll be living with for the year.
Once you’ve spoke to your flatmates, you’ll have each other to go and socialise with other people within your accommodation or attend activities, events or nights out.
First impressions are the key to forming friendships, so don’t isolate yourself from your flat even if you feel nervous, they probably do too.
When you’ve moved in, go and knock-on people’s doors or if you’re feeling awkward about that approach, go and unpack your things in the kitchen and wait for people to come in to chat to and make small talk!
2. Make The Most Of Social Media
Before you head off to university and experience fresher’s week, it can be beneficial to speak to your flatmates online.
After all, it will be easier to speak to people if you already know a bit about them from their social media profiles, you could start a conversation by saying things like “I see you went to this festival over the summer, how was it?!”.
Once you’re moved in, you can also send messages in the flat group chat asking if anyone wants to meet in the communal areas or attend freshers’ fairs together if you struggle with approaching people.
If you’re planning to attend freshers’ events, you can use social media to keep track of important information and details. It’s worth searching for Facebook groups you can join whether it’s a chat for your accommodation building or a chat for your course.
This will keep you in the loop about any plans and means you can get to know people without having to go up to tons of people and introduce yourself.
3. Say Yes To Opportunities
It’s quite cliché, but you should try to step out of your comfort zone during fresher’s week. If you get invited out to a party or club night then say yes, and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to go again.
Experiencing these things with large groups of people even for a few hours and seeing what they’re like means you’ve tried and attempted them. Plus, going out once can introduce you to new friends you otherwise wouldn’t have met!
If you go out one night, the next night you could spend time having a film night by yourself, that way you’re creating a balance.
Even if your flatmates ask if you want to go food shopping with them or go for a walk around the accommodation building, say yes! Or, if you’re running an errand, ask your flatmates to tag along.
These small things like going out for food or seeing the city you’re living in can form friendships and are just as much a good bonding experience as going out is. You’ll most likely find that people are feeling the same way as you and are worried about speaking to new people.
4. Suggest Plans That You’ll Enjoy
Saying yes to other people’s invites out is great, but so is suggesting plans yourself! That way you’re doing something you want to do and offering an invitation out to anyone who wants to join in.
Be pro-active in making friends whether it’s asking if anyone wants to have a cooking night in your flat kitchen, if anyone wants to head downstairs to your accommodations game space or if anyone wants to attend the freshers fair on campus.
Don’t be disheartened if people don’t say yes to your plans though, making friends is a process and chances are, you won’t become besties with everyone.
5. Remember Everyone Is Different
As we mentioned earlier everyone has different personality traits and interests, so what might be a dream night in for you of sitting and chilling might be something totally different for someone else.
They may prefer to go on nights out and party with people, and that is perfectly okay! You can still be friends with extroverts and people who like opposite things to you.
You might just make friends with a fellow introvert too, who enjoys quieter and calmer environments like you do. It can be good to have a friend with the same personality type as you whilst at uni.
As chances are your social batteries will be similar and you can leave get togethers after you’ve had enough, rather than staying and getting yourselves burnout. It’s always easier to have someone who feels the same way as you do in social settings.
6. Join Societies Or Groups
Ask your flatmates if they are thinking of joining any societies, you may find that you have some in common! If something tickles your fancy, then sign up for it and see what it’s like.
There’s no harm in trying it out and seeing if it’s for you, and if it’s not, then you don’t have to attend, as long as you don’t pay a joining fee.
Joining societies or groups as an introvert might seem a bit scary at first, but you’ll most likely meet likeminded people who want to do the same activities you do!
Getting yourself out there and meeting tons of new people can be draining. It can leave you feeling like running under your covers and recharging for a whole night, but the hardest part is meeting people for the first time, after that it gets easier.
You’ll hopefully meet people with common interests and hobbies so, it will be easy to talk about things and spend time together!
7. Be True To Yourself
We know we said to step out of your comfort zone and that’s true, but don’t try to act like an extroverted person if you’re not one.
Own your introversion personality type, you can even explain to your flatmates or new pals at uni that you’re an introvert if they’re wondering why you’re not always up for going out.
Chances are though, people you meet during freshers won’t care all that much if you prefer quieter outgoings if you try to be friends with them!
Such as, you could meet someone on a night out who you get on with, but you don’t really enjoy going to club nights, you could ask them to go for some food or to the cinema instead of agreeing to meet on another night out.
Being true to who you are during freshers is the best way to make friends and have a good time, you’re not changing who you are to fit in.
The same goes for alcohol, fresher’s week is known as a time of partying and experiencing the nightlife in your uni city or town, but it doesn’t have to be that, and if you don’t enjoy drinking then don’t force yourself to do it just because everyone else is.
8. Do Things At Your Own Pace
Lastly on our introvert’s fresher’s survival guide is the importance of doing things at your own pace.
Don’t throw yourself fully into the deep end when it comes to socialising during fresher’s week, you don’t need to force yourself to do things that really make you uncomfortable or just aren’t fun for you.
Freshers’ week is only the beginning of your student life, you’ll have tons of time to meet new people and experience new things, if that’s what you want to do!
Remember spending time by yourself to recharge is important, you don’t want to make yourself feel mentally exhausted by doing too much.
So, whip out your new book, whack on the telly, put your headphones in or play your fave games, whatever it is, cosy up and have some quiet time – you deserve it!
Being an introvert may make your freshers experience a bit different than others, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Remember though, it is your university experience, so don’t feel bad not wanting to partake in certain things.
You should try your best to make friends and go out during freshers week, however, don’t feel forced to do things you dislike or simply don’t enjoy. Everyone has a different personality type and likes different things!
Not to mention, freshers can be a stressful and very busy time, so don’t feel like that you have to do everything during this one week. You’ll meet tons of other students whilst at uni and we’re sure that some of them will be into the same things as you.
If you do find yourself getting a bit socially overwhelmed during freshers, then speak to your friends and family at home for some reassurance. Everyone gets home-sick and it will probably lighten your mood talking to people you know very well!
Don’t forget, there are resources available if you struggling with talking to people or finding things to do, so speak to your student services or explore Student Minds.
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