It is a Friday night at Tech, about 8 p.m. or so in the evening. East Campus is filled with electrifying music, glittering lights and the voices of excited students ready to go out after a long week of classes.
And then there is me, on the other side of campus, safely tucked under the sheets in my cozy apartment with my new favorite romance novel.
Ever since I could remember, I have always been more of an introverted person. I enjoy spending time with only a handful of people, if not just myself, and I avoid large crowds, groups, parties or social events whenever possible.
Of course, I do like spending time with friends and family and attending the occasional party or get-together, but if I had to choose, I would rather spend time with myself.
When I came to Tech as a freshman last year, I slowly realized that things would be a bit different than how they were when I was in high school. I could no longer go home after classes to relax by myself in my room or with my family.
As a first-year, I lived with another person in a first-year dorm, full of people who I had to interact with at one point or another.
I was away from my high school friends and family members who I was used to seeing every day. My environment had changed.
At the beginning of the year, my efforts to fit in with this changed environment were lacking. You would never find me on campus over the weekend, as I would be glancing out of the Gold bus window on my way to the Midtown MARTA station to head home right after classes. My only conversations were with my roommate, who was luckily a close friend from high school, my parents over frequent FaceTime calls throughout the week and a few friends that I had made. Even as an introvert, I often felt lonely and isolated from other students.
It was not until later in the year during the second semester that I ventured out of my comfort zone to keep up with my new college environment. I talked to new people and went to various events on and off-campus.
I joined a couple of student organizations, including the Technique, which turned out to be a great way to meet new people and explore new places.
To all my fellow introverts, I recommend taking a step outside your dorm room or apartment at least once
every day to explore campus.
College is one of the only phases of your life where you will be around such a distinct group of people with different backgrounds, goals and ambitions.
Tech especially has such a diverse student body where anyone you meet has an interesting story to tell, and I definitely believe everyone should take advantage of this during their time here.
This is much easier said than done, so the first step is to find something that interests you and join one of Tech’s many student organizations that is closely related to that.
Go to club meetings and talk to the people there because it is very likely that you all have similar interests. Soon, you may find yourself a new group of friends and somewhere to be every week besides your 8 a.m. lectures.
Now, as I make my way into my second year at the Institute and look back on my first year, I would not say I have become the most social and extroverted person in any room.
What I can say is that college has helped me become more open-minded, friendly and aware of my surroundings.
While I would still prefer a quiet night in over an exciting night on the town, the people I have met and experiences I have had in college so far have helped me discover a new and inspiring side of myself.