Everyone loves to give advice to students starting post secondary. However, often the tips are vague and unhelpful. Being told to “step out of your comfort zone!” or “be yourself” may just create more uncertainty. If you are an extrovert who is mostly excited about moving away for university, you will require different advice than an introvert who may be experiencing some different stressors. That is why, today, I hope to give advice that is specific to you, and is directly related to how you engage with the world around you. Together, let’s look at some of the more stressful aspects of starting post-secondary, and figure out how both introverts and extroverts can thrive at them.
- Making friends
Introverts: Try breaking out of your comfort zone when it comes to meeting new people. When class starts, sit beside someone who is alone or with only one other person. It takes only 10 seconds of bravery to introduce yourself. Talk about where you are from, what program you are in, or some of your first day stress! You never know where it may lead you, and you may find great commonalities that can help you bond.
Extroverts: Look for people who seem to be struggling. I know that it’s easy to be drawn to people with a similar personality to yours, but sometimes the deepest friendships are made by varying types! Try to form a group and include lots of different people. The group may shift and change as time goes on, but creating a sense of belonging can help people feel more at home.
- Orientation week
Introverts: Targeting an individual and working on first building that one relationship may help to bring a sense of belonging in your larger group for o-week. Try to remember that your orientation leaders are always there with lots of helpful information and reassurances! Still, if you find yourself overwhelmed by the busyness or constant social stimulation during the week, be sure to allow yourself some breaks. If you don’t want to participate in every activity, that is perfectly okay!
Extroverts: Don’t be embarrassed to volunteer or look too eager. If you feel like you wish to be involved, go for it! The orientation leaders will be thankful. After all, enthusiastic leaders are nothing without willing participants.
Introverts: Your alone space is sacred. That is why, although I encourage you to make friends and build a bond with your roomie(s), make sure you establish some rules and boundaries. You don’t want to burn out, especially in your first couple weeks of uni!
Extroverts: Be enthusiastic, but also be sure to respect your roommates time and space! They may value their silence more than you do, and that is okay! Find a balance that works for both of you.
- Dealing with uncertainty
Introverts: Sometimes it is hard to open up and be vulnerable about not knowing something. Never be afraid to ask, and know that there are people around to help you! They might have been just as nervous as you when they started.
Extroverts: Just because you tend to give off an air of confidence does not mean that you always are on the inside. Try to be aware of yourself and know when you need to accept help from someone more experienced than you.
First year can be an amazing adventure for both introverts and extroverts. Introverts, make sure you know your limits and don’t burn out. Be sure to take time for yourself in your busy schedule. Extroverts, make the most of one of the most social years of your life! No matter what your personality type is, you will thrive if you listen to yourself and your needs. Never try to change your personality, and remember to be yourself. Now go with confidence and make first year the best year of your life!