5 ways an introvert can survive freshman fall quarter

Oct. 19, 2016, 11:00 a.m.
  1. Find that one quiet spot where you can actually think.

Stanford is the campus that never sleeps. You can go anywhere on campus and find yourself a group of people willing to study, hang out or even party on a weeknight. Freshman dorms are notorious for being lively, social places to meet new friends and create fantastic memories. Sometimes the constant chatter and laughter can be too much for an introvert. I require absolute silence when writing or doing homework, so working in the lounge with 10 other people isn’t productive. Sitting outside on a hammock for half an hour allows me to power through assignments and get a chance to recharge.

  1. Reach out to other introverts.

Despite my skepticism, introverts do exist at Stanford. I’ve learned that you have to look in the right places. During my first week here, I went to a frat party sober to get the experience and ended up hating it. Between stepping in puke and getting shoved into a group of grinding people, I called it a night and went back to my dorm. I found a group of girls watching a chick flick in the lounge and knew I’d found my people. Introverts may also be lurking in Green library, CoHo or just sitting on a bench by Lake Lag. They even may disguised as extroverted introverts.

  1. Do something you love.

It’s extremely easy to forget about the poem you started writing or the book you’re halfway done with when you’ve got an entire problem set to finish. Classes, clubs and sleep take up more time time than I expected coming to Stanford. Last week, I struggled with feelings of frustration and stress as I tried to figure out what to write about for my history paper. I didn’t feel like watching Netflix or writing my thoughts out, but I realized that I hadn’t crocheted in days. Crocheting (similar to knitting) has kept me calm and feeling productive over the past 12 years. After a speed crochet session, I was ready to get back to work. Try playing an instrument you haven’t picked up in years, baking cupcakes for your roommate or writing a slam poem. Whatever it is, the end result must be happiness.

  1. Keep a journal.

Being “on” all the time is emotionally draining and sometimes I don’t get the time to recharge myself. When I’m by myself, I usually reflect on how I’m feeling, think about what’s bothering me and figure out how to fix the issue. Not having the time to define my emotions forces me to keep them inside. Whether they’re negative or positive, built-up feelings can be dangerous if left too long percolating. I carry a notebook with me all the time, not just to write down article ideas and bits of dialogue, but also to record my daily thoughts. By writing them down, I pass them from my mind and heart to the paper. This gives me the ability to sort out my thoughts and emotions even if I don’t have an extended amount of time.          

  1. Read up on articles or blogs about introverts.

The internet is a vast and wonderful place for introverts to connect. I came across a well-run blog last summer and now visit it once a day. Introvert, Dear is a great place to read up on life, love and career advice for introverts and highly sensitive people. On more than one occasion, I’ve printed out an article and hung it up on my wall or kept it in my writing notebook to remind myself that my feelings and experiences are valid. Other people around the world and at Stanford feel the same way I do, and I know that I’m not alone.


Contact Emily Schmidt at egs1997 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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