In my opinion, the best advice I can give to a shy graduate going to college is to be true to yourself. As a shy person for many years of my life, I felt embarrassed and left out, but honestly, I think that has been one of the biggest factors in how much further ahead in life I have gotten because being different is what makes people who they are and if everyone were the same then we would be in a weird world that I do not want to imagine.
Look online for groups
Meetup is an excellent place to start, but it doesn’t stop there. There are many student-run clubs on campus that you might find interesting. And don’t limit yourself to the ones you think you’ll like.
Get involved on campus – get involved with clubs and organizations. Maintain an open mind about meeting new people and being social. It’s easier said than done, but you’ll never learn to be social if you don’t try.
Let your personality show
Even if it is a quirky personality and people seem not to understand you, they are still paying attention to something about YOU, so the more unique and different you are, the more people will remember you.
It’s OK to be alone
As someone who is extremely anti-social and doesn’t like opening up to just anyone, it was hard for me to meet new people. Sometimes, it’s good to spend some time yourself with your thoughts.
It allows you time away from all the new stimuli that college presents AND gives you some peace of mind so you can regroup before leaping back into socializing. Oh yes, and learn how to cook because it’s cheaper than eating out every meal.
Don’t compare yourself to others
Everyone has their path they’re meant to walk. This is true to a personal level and social level.
Don’t be concerned about what other people think
What’s the big deal if someone who is shy has days when they don’t want to be around anyone?
Don’t just connect with people for the sake of it
Build relationships. Meet them at events where you can talk naturally and share interests.
Live outside your comfort zone
So what? If you slip and fall, it’s okay. Even the most socially confident people get jitters and butterflies in their stomachs just like everyone else does. And if you’re not 20, maybe it’s even because you haven’t had as much life experience.
You can still do it anyway. If anything, this will get better with time, so don’t fret about who doesn’t want to talk to you or how hard it is for you at first. Take baby steps and enjoy getting to know new people.
Don’t hesitate-Take Action
Reach Out. Remember, any relationship needs SOME time for it to blossom. Waiting much longer than a few days can make people wonder if you’re even interested in them, right?
People like honesty and openness. Even when it’s uncomfortable or embarrassing, just be honest about who you are and how you feel because that way, everyone knows where they stand. I know every person says this but TRUST me when I say that people appreciate an upfront person.
Make sure you’re not shy about asking for help
Many people want to help you but aren’t sure what you need. Consult your professors, advisors, and family members. They can connect you with people who can assist you.
If something bothers you, say it
Don’t let these things fester or become a bigger issue. You have every right to request that people stop saying something or being mean to you.
Be social on your terms
It’s great that some people have the time and inclination for group projects/clubs etc., but if that isn’t your style, just go ahead and start your own thing. There are enough clubs at college for everyone.
Be more open about yourself and your interests
Don’t be afraid of what people will say. If someone judges you or thinks you’re weird, that’s their problem. You shouldn’t feel like you need to hide who you are or it’ll be too hard to make friends.
Take a chance
People love to put a lot of pressure on themselves, especially in the early stages of college. Remember, there are no wrong answers,but the only way to find out is to try.
Experiment with activities that take you outside of your comfort zone
The more places/people/things you make time for, the less likely that things will be uncomfortable to you later on.
Don’t judge a person just because they look different from you, etc. It doesn’t matter what someone looks like.
Do things even if you’re scared
This is perhaps the most important point on the list. If you don’t challenge yourself and do things that scare you, how will you grow?
Talk to your roommates more
They can be a great resource and an excellent sounding board. Even if you don’t have anything in common with them, the daily contact will help to strengthen your bond.
Don’t worry so much about the future
There’s so much time ahead of you, and it keeps going no matter how many plans you make. Even if you’re disappointed by some things, other fantastic opportunities will come along if you’re still open to them.
Be comfortable spending time alone too
Whether in the library or room, find activities that make you comfortable being alone (such as cooking and reading). Enjoy your time when it comes to being alone because you get to learn more about yourself.
Even if you connect with a few people, don’t expect to become best friends
Plan to be in regular communication with new friends for a while, but don’t constantly expect them to be around at all times. You’ll be disappointed if that’s your only source of comfort.
Don’t try to make friends with people who are exactly like you
Instead, look for similar people who are opposite to you because you’ll mesh better. Even if you don’t bond over the same things, you can still respect them for who they are and understand why they like what they like.
Audit the classes that you are struggling in
Be honest with yourself about your study skills & reach out to your processor who might help. Most profs are more than willing to work with you outside of the classroom if they know that you’re trying your best.
Make a list of your favorite things to do
Make a goal to find someone who shares one of those interests. Friendships based on similarities are usually the most fulfilling because there is no initial awkwardness trying to get to know each other.
If you’re shy around strangers, there’s nothing wrong with being quiet, but don’t let it prevent you from making new relationships or participating in group conversations.
You may not think of anything interesting to say at first, so ask questions about what people have been talking about if you need some help getting started. Once people start laughing at your jokes, you’ll feel more confident about opening yourself up to others.
Avoid being a wallflower
Some people have trouble talking with other students in class or at school events because they don’t know what to say. One technique is to join a group conversation around the water cooler during the break between classes so that you can pick up on other people’s conversations and get a feel for what is happening around you. Once you get more comfortable, it’ll be easier to join the main group conversation or ask questions if needed.
Being in college can be a scary experience, especially if you’re away from friends and family for the first time. There are, however, numerous resources available to assist you in preparing for this new chapter in your life.
Take advantage of your school’s counseling service if you’re struggling to make friends. There are ample resources to get started on making new connections on campus and navigating the ups and downs of college life.