I’ll preface this by saying that, unsurprisingly, I am a huge introvert. Let me also preface this by saying that introversion does not necessarily mean shyness. Really, it’s the way in which social interaction affects an individual that determines introversion or extroversion (meaning that introverted people can, in fact, be outgoing, and extroverted people can, in fact, be shy!) The key to understanding introversion is pretty simple: social interaction is draining to introverts, but fuels extroverts.
Oftentimes, Barnard life seems to encourage extroversion. Here are a few things I’ve found help keep me sane when I feel frazzled and drained from life’s daily interactions.
1) Eat meals alone sometimes. Though catching up with friends in the Diana Center cafe can be one of my favorite things to do, I’ve learned that meal times can be really great for digestion (pun slightly intended.) No matter how busy your day is, sitting down to eat and catch up with your own thoughts can be an absolute lifesaver.
2) Make sure to schedule time for your “thing.” Correct me if I’m wrong in saying this, but my impression has always been that those who choose to go to Barnard are generally passion-filled individuals. Whether this passion be for art, sports, politics–you name it, there is more than likely someone here who loves it. My passion is writing. If I don’t schedule time for myself to write, I don’t feel fulfilled and I’ll get sucked into certain modes of thought (read: stress) more easily. Though this is absolutely applicable to anyone, it’s particularly important for introverts because it allows you that time to recharge while doing what you love.
3) Find a secret spot. Finding a place to be alone and observe life around you can be difficult in New York, but it definitely isn’t impossible. Between parks, coffee shops, and random benches in street medians, there’s definitely a space for everyone. Though I won’t give away my favorite secret spot (sorry!), I really enjoy absorbing the atmosphere of campus while sitting by the side of the Diana between classes. It’s simple, relaxing, and the crisp autumn air feels great.
4) Don’t be intimidated by others’ extroversion. This can be really hard to overcome. Watching everyone else do so much can easily make you feel like you aren’t doing enough or like the time you take for yourself isn’t worth taking. I struggle with this still, but one thing that has helped me quite a bit this semester is something one of our peer-eds said during training. FOMO, or “fear of missing out,” is something that can really easily affect your well being. While you’re worried about things people are doing without you, you lose that valuable time for self rejuvenation. Caroline introduced us all to a new acronym, JOMO, or “joy of missing out.” Basically, it’s all about perspective. Enjoy whatever you’re choosing to do and everything will work itself out.
Do you have any other tips on being an introvert? Leave them in the comments!