Schools are like little societies where we have to learn how to socialize and coexist to apply it in the real world. There are many things you can try to overcome your introverted personality and enjoy this new school year.
Going back to school can be quite the challenge, especially for introverts, even if it’s the same school you’ve been attended for a while. And it gets even scarier if you’re actually going to a new school because you don’t know anybody there. I get it. As a person who doesn’t talk to anybody I don’t know unless they talk to me first, every time I changed schools, having to socialize with strangers was the worst.
Still, after spending the first few weeks by myself when I started college, there came a day when I couldn’t help it and decided to make at least some small talk with someone. To be honest, it was nerve-racking, but once the conversation started, I couldn’t help but ask myself why I hadn’t done it before. The answer might be simple, but if you’ve ever experienced something like this, you know that something happens in our mind that hold us back even when it sounds so simple and easy. Now, school is about to start, so if you’re feeling a bit anxious, perhaps these tips can help you come out of your shell and make this term the best ever.
Join groups in social media
One of the things that helped me the most was feeling I knew as much about the new term as possible. These days, this is very easy to do thanks to social media. Most likely, your school or even your class already has a Facebook group where you can see who you’re going to be sharing classes with and other relevant info. Most of the time, being an introvert also means you’re an over thinker and an acute observer, so use these in your favor and try to get all the information you need so you’re prepared on the first day of school.
Try talking to people between classes
If you're like me, and your main problem is actually reaching someone and talking, this tip should help. One of the things I’ve been doing in the last few years is trying to socialize more every day. For instance, when you’re waiting in line at the coffee shop, why not say hi to the person in front of you? I know this might sound super lame, but it’s helped me a lot with my social skills. I mean, you’re probably not going to be friends with that person, but little by little you’ll be able to open up to people without feeling anxious all the time.
Start a group activity
Vacations are almost over, but it’s never late to start a new activity. It can be anything you like or that you’re passionate about; the point is that it will help you loosen up around people you don’t know, as you share your passion with others. It’s always easier to hang out with people with similar interests. Then, once you realize that you can also socialize with people who don't necessarily share the same likes as you, the easier you’ll find to overcome your introverted personality at a place like a school with so much diversity.
Define who you are
Now, the previous points are things you can do, but now, let’s go to the more personal and introspective part. Something that happens to many of us introverts is that sometimes we want to belong so badly that we just pretend to be somebody we’re not because we’re afraid people won’t like who we are. But that’s the worst thing you can do. There's still time to think and analyze why you feel the need to be more social, and more importantly, who you really are. Once you’ve defined yourself, it’s going to be much easier to show that to the world.
Don’t see socializing as something you have to do, but rather as something you want to do
As I said before, you really have to ask yourself why you want to be more social. For me, it was a matter of overcoming that mental wall I had created that prevented me from meeting new people and having new experiences. However, a lot of people do see it as an obligation because that’s how we’re supposed to be or behave; and let me tell you that being social and outgoing isn’t for everyone unless you really want it.
It’s not like from one day to the next you’ll be the most outgoing person in the world. If that’s what you’re expecting, let me tell you right now, it’s not going to happen. If you think about it, this is pretty much like exercising. At first, it's going to be harsh and even painful, but when your muscles start getting used to it, it’ll be easier for you to perform it. Socializing is the same, you just have to exercise a bit. Take baby steps and don’t pressure yourself to become someone you’re not.
Last but definitely not least, this is a process that takes time. Enjoy it. You’ll be surprised to see how far you can get, and once you see the whole process, you’ll see how enriching and fulfilling this is. After all, the main purpose of being more social at school, or any situation you think about, is being around people and enjoy having fun, so why not enjoy and learn along the way as well.
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Photos by @brandonwoelfel