The quiet side of uni life: an extroverted introverts guide
Going to university is a huge change for everyone: the campus you’ve yet to explore is teeming with people you’ve never met. The workload and life speed is a vast contrast to that of college or sixth form. Suddenly you are thrust into a new world, portrayed in programmes such as Fresh Meat as a place filled with 24 hour drinking fests, awkward late-night rendezvous, and 9am lectures.
This can be a worry for some students: the students you don’t always see in the prospectus. We are not all the confident, cheery, athletic and social types that are often featured, peering over books or enjoying a night in the SU bar. In all honesty I am not a frequenter of the SU bar, nor am I athletic or fashionable. The important lesson that I learnt, and that I wish to share, is that it really doesn’t matter. You can still have an amazing time at university. Here’s why:
A good place to start is that most of the time, people will have no idea who you are, where you came from, or what series of events brought you here. You have permission to be whoever you wish and create an authentic self, without the holdbacks of hometown life. University is one of the best places to develop yourself. It is also a great place to learn not just about your field of expertise but about your unknown loves. The vast array of societies and clubs provide unadulterated access to new or rediscovered parts of your personality. The university also provides loads of on-site advisors, counsellors, and student reps who are on hand to help if you stumble. They understand that everyone’s journey is different and can help you find the best way to help yourself.
You are an independent person. Gone are the days of peer pressure and school pecking orders. You, as an adult, are free to live your life as you wish. For people like me, that involves staying in most nights with Agatha Christie or my latest assignment. You have no obligation to go out and party if you don’t want to. There is nothing wrong with going out until 5am, but never feel pressured into doing it. Many societies offer sober socials that are a great alternative to bar crawls. The stereotype of university life is not always the actuality. You do meet amazing people and have amazing experiences, but these don’t always need alcohol or a crowded dance floor in order to happen.
This is probably the most important lesson of all: people will appreciate you for the time and effort you give them. No matter which department or course your friends are on, if you give them support and friendship they will give it back in their turn. University is a first step on the road to adulthood, which means it’s time to shake off the preconceived notions from school and embrace who you are. Drinker or not, socialite or not, use this time to enjoy your learning, your friends, and your life.
9am lectures are still a problem, alas.
Kiera Smitheram, Vocal Performance