The Introvert/Shy Student’s Guide to University

If you’re a more introverted student like I am, there were probably situations you anticipated coming into university that made you wonder if your social battery would quickly deplete before getting through the day.

If you’re a shy student as well, there may also be situations that you expected would make you uncomfortable due to the social aspect.

Fear not, as a fellow introvert I have some tips to help you in your university journey that actually work!

tree with concrete and brick building in the background

MacLaurin Building from the courtyard. Photo by the author.


Yes, I am an introvert. While I do enjoy most social situations my “battery”, as it’s referred to, can be drained by prolonged interaction, where an extrovert would feel energized after the same scenario. And yes, I am an introvert who’s also a student blogger. What can I say? I like challenging expectations.

1. Don’t try to reinvent yourself as an extrovert

While attempting to rebrand yourself as an extrovert may seem tempting, I would advise against this. You are you for a reason and, frankly, when has faking an aspect of your personality ever worked well for anyone? This leads me to my next point…

2. Value the qualities that introversion gives you

Introverts generally excel at working alone effectively. We also have many great leadership qualities.

In my first year psychology class my professor showed us a TED Talk by Susan Cain called “The power of introverts”. She discusses how introverts are good listeners and reflect on their actions more, which are important skills to possess as a leader.

3. You’re actually better at group work than you think

Photo from UVic campus in Spring by author

Chances are you’re not the biggest fan of class projects that are group work based or rely on collaboration. Group work, however, is the best time to apply those leadership skills that we just talked about.

Listening is part of communication, something every group needs to be successful. Reflective qualities are necessary to problem-solve and troubleshoot.

From personal experience, taking more of an active and leadership driven approach to group projects can make projects less draining.

4. Don’t feel guilty about living in a single room in residence your first year, or valuing privacy for that matter

I’m adding this in here because it happened to me. At some point in my first year, I began to regret living in a single room.

Having not made as many close friendships as I’d originally hoped, I started thinking that living in a double room or cluster apartment with roommates on campus would have been a better idea, thinking that it would have connected me with more people.

The majority of residence rooms at UVic are single rooms. In retrospect, living in a single helped me maintain the privacy and autonomy that I thrive in.

How do you manage life as an introvert in an extrovert focused world? Leave a comment to share your experience!

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