Ever since junior year of high school when discussions of “how to make it in the real world” began, I’ve learned of the ongoing debate of the introvert versus the extrovert. Students are always told how important it is to network and participate in conversations. Granted, those are really important skills to have, but for people who don’t find it natural to burst into a room of strangers and start making small talk with every person in their sight it can be extremely difficult, and they can get penalized for it.
Introverts are often seen as inferior in some way, not likely to be as successful as their extroverted counterparts. The fact that introverts have different skills to offer is overlooked most of the time. Although cliché as this may sound, we need to stop comparing apples to oranges and recognize the value in both ends of the introverted and extroverted spectrum.
I have always thought of myself as an introvert. I’m usually the quiet girl in the corner of the room with her headphones in, or the girl who gets overwhelmed when there are more than fifteen people in the group she is hanging out with on a Saturday night. People try to label me; I’ve been called shy, intimidating, anti-social, and a bitch. My tendency to stay in the background has made my personality to be portrayed as a people-loathing, self-centered brat who doesn’t take the time or the effort to meet new people. (I’m sure people that know me reading this right now are already sending me a message to remind me how much I say “I hate people” on a daily basis.)
I don’t legitimately hate people. Yes, I may get overwhelmed in a crowd or the amount of small talk I’m expected to make in a given day. I love going out, having lunch with my friends, and having conversations with people in my classes. But I also need time to recharge, time for myself where I can take a break from all the other people that I share BC’s campus with. I recognize that I can’t spend all day with people and that sometimes I have to step away from going or hanging out and take time to myself. And doing that is perfectly ok. It probably turns out better for everyone because it means 1) I won’t be cranky, and 2) I’ll be energized for the next day.
Now, I’m not saying to go full-on hermit and never leave your dorm because you’re eating a tub of ice cream watching all nine seasons of The Office. Go out, have fun, make friends but if you need to take time to yourself don’t listen to criticism that someone may give you.
The point of my ill-organized rant is that, if you are introverted, don’t feel bad that you need to take time to yourself. There is a lot of pressure on attending every club meeting, meeting new people, and going out every weekend. Not doing this does not mean you are doing college wrong; you are doing college in a way that is best for you. So to all my introverts out there, keep doing you.
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