It’s Okay to Be an Introvert in...

It’s Okay to Be an Introvert in College/University!

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Some people love to be with others and to talk and laugh with them. They get their energy from being around people and enjoy going to parties and other events. These people are extroverts, and much of the world is designed for them. Even university and college can be easier for extroverts than for introverts, and introverts might be tempted to try to change their personality types to fit in. Still, university and college can be good even for introverts if they know how to get the best from their studies.

People use the terms “extrovert” and “introvert” in somewhat different ways, depending on how they understand the words. An extrovert is not always sociable and an introvert is not always shy, but that is how many people think of the two personality types.

The more accurate way to think of the difference between the two is that extroverts get their energy from being with people but introverts get their energy from being alone. Both might go to a party and have fun, but the extrovert will want to be with people afterwards while the introvert will probably want to be alone. They also process their thoughts differently. The extrovert might think something through by talking about it, but the introvert will normally think about it before speaking.

Many university or college instructors seem to prefer extroverts over introverts. They often give marks for speaking up in class, and they assign group projects which require several people to work together to get their grade. This can be very difficult for introverts, who have a natural tendency to prefer listening rather than speaking and working on their own rather than working with others.

However, introverts can still find ways to be successful at university or college. The first thing is to try to choose classes with limited requirements for group interaction if possible. Many introverts are good public speakers, and they can try to choose courses with individual presentations rather than a lot of group work. Even if working with others is impossible to avoid entirely, having at least one class that acknowledges the introverts’ strength of concentration and dedication can help make the others less stressful.

Social life is another area that can cause a lot of anxiety for introverts. It might not be a good idea to avoid a social life entirely, but introverts can make it less stressful by choosing to go to one person’s home for supper rather than to a party or by limiting the amount of time they spend with others. Trying to be an extrovert will just cause stress that could badly affect an introvert’s grades and enjoyment of university or college.

Are you an introvert? Post-secondary education might scare you, but if you make good choices about how and where to interact with others, you can make it work.


English, Sarah. “Surviving University as an Introvert.” http://www.studentpowered.ca/surviving-university-as-an-introvert.

Lawrence, Daina. “Seven Ways Universities Can Work for Introverted Students.” http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/education/7-ways-universities-can-work-for-introverted-students/article21186974/.

Osterrieder, Anne. “How to Be an Introvert on Campus.” https://www.timeshighereducation.com/blog/how-be-introvert-campus.

Robinson, Kerianne. “How to be an Introvert at University.” http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/karianne-robinson-/how-to-be-an-introvert-at-uni_b_9728776.html.

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