A couple of months ago I wrote a piece for the Guardian about being an introvert in my first semester of University. Now that my second semester is almost finished, I thought that I would share two other lessons that didn’t make it into the article.
Independence doesn’t equate to being a loner, your downtime is nothing to be ashamed of.
The nights I chose to stay in making something or consuming a thing I love I never actually feel like I’m missing out, in fact, when I’m catching up on books I’ve been meaning to read or editing something that I loved creating, my strongest feeling is ‘I wish I felt this way all the time’. Yet there’s always this nagging feeling that I should be feeling some other way. Sometimes I have this strange sense that I’m missing out on the fear of missing out, that I shouldn’t be enjoying the empty hours in my schedule and that I should instead be crying into my journal tapping Snapchat stories and wishing I was a different way, but I don’t (at least not most of the time). It’s as if I’ve seen all these movies and read all these books where the introverted character despises their introversion and almost try to emulate a truth that is not mine, shaming myself for feeling unashamed for enjoying the way I choose to live despite the fact that I quite like it. As young people, we’re generally pushed two ideas; that university is supposed to be this constant exciting colourful time or that if it isn’t the fact should make us miserable, envying the lives of those who do live that way when in reality many of us, introverts, in particular, don’t feel either way. Accept your self-ie
Trust your instinct, honour your time.
There’s this song by Alessia Cara called ‘here’. It tells the tale of a person who goes to a party to be with their friends only to find themselves looking at the scene around them and questioning why they came. And If you, like me are an introvert who loves the idea of parties but generally finds them to be a little bit stressful/disappointing, you’ve probably found yourself standing in a bathroom stall trying to convince yourself you don’t want to leave or in a kitchen talking to a deeply intoxicated stranger wanting nothing more than to leave. We’ve all been there, some (me) more than others but it’s not just a fact of university life that you have to accept. If there’s one thing I’ve become certain of in the past few months, it is just how well I know myself when it comes to predicting what I will and will not enjoy socially. For the most part, I’ve known what I was getting myself into before finding myself on a sofa somewhere nodding politely to a conversation I’m only half paying attention to gently humming and asking myself ‘what am I doing here?’. The pressure to be seen at social gatherings and the ever-present fear of missing out is strong at University. Often the fear of missing out can be stronger than the actual desire to turn up and while leaving your comfort one can be the beginning of great experiences, there is a difference between being stuck in your comfort zone and knowing yourself.