Journey of an introvert
April 30th, 2014 | Ian Richardson
I’m often not the one to initiate a conversation. My cheeks turn as red as an Evangel tulip when I’m speaking in front of people. I tend to disappear when I’m in large groups.
Yep, I’m an introvert.
Spending three years in college has made me more outgoing than I once was, although I still wouldn’t consider myself a social butterfly by any means. And I’m okay with that. Not everyone can be as bubbly as Hope Hamilton.
However, as a high school senior, the thought of going off to some place called Evangel where I knew absolutely no one well enough to call them a “friend” on campus, gave me butterflies. The question haunting me was likely the question that haunts many high school introverts the summer before they go away to college: College is such a big, strange, new place; how am I going to make friends?
Move-in day finally arrived, and the first few days of EU Launch helped me realize that I’d be able to make the transition. I’d like to say Launch was a magical time when I befriended my entire launch group and dozens of other people who I’m still tight with today, but that wouldn’t be the true story. In fact, I’ll admit that there were some times that week when I felt lost in the crowd. There were so many students, and while some had already formed groups, I didn’t know where to begin. However, even though there were some uncomfortable moments in those first few days, I began to realize how open everyone on campus was to new friendships. Other freshmen, faculty members, even the upperclassmen who I talked with were excited to greet me and learn more about me.
The place where I began to connect with people was my floor. As I gradually began to meet people like my RA, my roommate and the other guys as they moved in, I realized that they were expecting to include me — they wanted to be my friend. Then, once classes started, taking University Seminar with other people in my department helped me meet people with similar interests, and I’m great friends with several of them still today.
Now, I find myself making new friendships all the time. From semester to semester, new people move onto my floor, and I have classes or am involved in projects and clubs with different people as well. College has taught me how to make friends, even though I may be a bit quieter than most. It’s also done a lot to help me realize that being an introvert isn’t a weakness; it’s a style, a personality type — and one that today’s world needs.
So, if you’re an introvert like me and wondering how you could ever start new friendships in college, I’d like to reassure you that you will find friendships here. You’ll still have to be willing to do your part and get involved since friendships don’t just drop out of the sky. But the people here, whether they are in your academic department, your residence hall or the clubs that you join, want to befriend you. Your journey probably won’t look exactly like mine, but when you look back on your first semester of college, you’ll realize that Evangel is a place where all newcomers, even the introverts, can find a friend.