Introverted & Anxious: Tips for Opening up in College

College is all about self-discovery and preparing yourself for your future. Campus life can present many opportunities and challenges, especially for introverts. If you feel shy, scared, or just plain anxious about college, don’t worry.

You definitely aren’t alone, and as you get more comfortable with your new home and yourself, things will get easier.

Here are a few tips to help you flourish and make the most of your college experience. 

Join a Campus Club

There are plenty of things to do on campus, but one way to step outside your comfort zone is to consider joining a club. Networking on campus can help you feel connected to your school, find your sense of belonging, and become a community member. There are campus groups for just about everything, from hobbies to cultural clubs; you name it, it’s probably there. And if it’s not, it may be a good opportunity to start a new club!

Meeting people with the same passions and interests is common ground for talking points and shows you that making new friends does not have to be scary. You’ll often hold events through your club activities and even meet others through outings. Some fellow club members may end up being classmates, making things easier in the classroom as well. Instead of feeling like you are talking in front of a group of strangers, you will feel that you are talking to friends and acquaintances who are rooting for you. 

Go to a Career Fair

Exploring a career fair is a great way to expand and get more comfortable interacting with others in college. Of course, you may feel like shying away and passing on the opportunity when you see that career fair poster. However, attending it will be great practice for working on your people and presentation skills. If you usually feel like you don’t know what to say next or how to best convey who you are, preparing for and attending a career fair can help you get past these mental blocks and prevent you from putting up walls.

Find something professional yet comfortable to wear to feel confident. Dress for success! Once you decide what you want to wear, move on to getting your materials together. First, preparing your resume makes you more aware of who you are, and you can talk about your strengths and accomplishments confidently. Once you have your resume, read it over, prepare, think about your unique skills and experience, and rehearse your main talking points. Practice always makes perfect, and repetition can help you to feel more confident in opening up. Try practicing in front of the mirror, or with a trusted friend.

Take Advantage of Office Hours

Participating in class can seem intimidating at first. Do you dread providing input or speaking up when your professor asks for feedback? If this sounds like you, it’s understandable, and it can be incredibly intimidating to share your ideas within a large lecture hall-like setting. However, you mustn’t shrink down in your seat, hoping the professor overlooks you. Many instructors value participation, and low marks in this category can impact your grades semester over semester. Don’t let this keep you from getting the grades and recognition you deserve!

Take advantage of office hours and meet with your professors. Don’t steer away from this opportunity, either. There are ways to make office hours less scary too. Talk to them about how you experience anxiety about presentations or participating. Professors will appreciate this because they can’t read your mind, and going to office hours will show you care about your engagement and participation. Also, your professors can give you pointers on articulating your ideas and help you to feel more comfortable sharing. Building relationships and getting to know your professors can make it feel more like a conversation when speaking up in the classroom. 

Know When to Get Professional Help

The college experience can be overwhelming for anyone, and it can be much more challenging if you are shy. If you feel especially anxious or notice you are isolating yourself and unable to interact with others, it is essential to talk about these things. Knowing about and understanding mental health in college is very important. You don’t want to miss classes or stay inside your dorm for too long.

If you find that your anxiety is severe, seeking help from a psychiatrist who can help you discuss options like anxiety medications online right from your dorm room may be a helpful option for you. Although you may not want to talk about it, opening up can help you grow and live your best college life. The more you can articulate your thoughts and feelings, the easier each step you take will become. 

Explore Your Living Options

Whether you are going to school close to home or far away, your living options can have much to do with your overall college experience, especially for introverts. Explore all the living options available to you that may make it easier for you to open up in college in the long run. If you have to live on campus, see what’s available, whether it’s a shared room or private room, you likely have options.

The thought of living with multiple roommates can be enough for you to not want to show up. However, try to avoid living in isolation. Having one roommate would be an excellent place to start. Your roommate can be your support buddy, help introduce you to others, and even be your new best friend. Once you get used to having a roommate, you could even expand out the next year and try living in a home with more roommates. If you decide to live on campus, make yourself feel as at home as possible. Personalizing your dorm room is essential to help you feel at home, and getting to know your RA can help you better settle in.

Being prepared ahead of time will make your college experience less stressful. Feeling anxious about the unknown is inevitable, but when you have many questions answered and have a better idea of what to expect, you will surely find college a more comfortable place to open up.