Last week, Jacob Shamsian kindly brought up the role of the introvert in an exceedingly extroverted college life. His advice is great for those underclassmen that are trying to find their way around Binghamton. You can sit in the front of your class; keep your distance from the party scene and be confident in knowing you are an introvert.
There is something, however, that constantly seems to be overlooked on this issue. You see the problem for introverts in college stems from a deeper issue. The problem isn’t just the fact that introverts find it more difficult to succeed in college. The problem is many extroverts just don’t seem to understand what it means to be introverted.
As someone who can count to how many parties I have been to on one hand, I find myself constantly adjusting to the extroverted landscape. I always seem to be subconsciously following Shamsian’s advice every week. But why is it that I have to hear myself explaining to people the reason behind my reclusiveness? Why do people look at me as a unicorn when I tell them I stayed in on parade day? Honestly, there isn’t much of an answer I can provide.
Extroverts surround themselves with extroverts. They will find the company of those who like company. That doesn’t go with saying that introverts don’t like company; we definitely like the company of our friends. But the lack of introverts in an extrovert’s life may not allow him or her to fully comprehend the nature of introverts.
In order for college bound introverts to succeed, college extroverts must begin to understand the nature of introverts. And in order to assimilate introverts into the college environment, we must acknowledge that introverts are all around us, whether we realize them or not.
So before you gasp at the sudden realization that your friend might be an introvert, take a second to learn about what it means to be introverted. First off, as I mentioned before, we are social and like company. Too much socializing, however, overwhelms us. The same way many extroverts like to stay in and keep to themselves every now and then, is the same way introverts feel about partying.
And yes, believe it or not, we do have friends. It may not be as extensive as many of the social webs college students have, but it is there. We tend to have a smaller circle of friends, the ones we are most comfortable with.
Public speaking can be a train wreck for introverts though. We like to speak our minds. We have a lot to say but just want to say it as succinct as possible. As Shamsian mentioned, public speaking is a skill that only gets better with practice.
So next time you meet an introvert, understand that we are just normal people. Just because we say very little and only talk to a few people, we are not that different. We have similar interests as extroverts from academia to entertainment. We just express ourselves in a different manner.
Class of 2015