Long Walks and Libraries: An Introvert’s Guide to Dealing with Life at a Large University

Most of you know at this point that I have recently started my first year at Liberty University. If you didn’t know that, then click here to review my first week. What you may not know is that Liberty is a very large university. Liberty has something around 90,000 students online and 13,000 on campus. Actually, that makes it the largest university in the state of Virginia. The 90,000 online is cool and all, but it’s the 13,000 that inspired this post.

Maybe if you live in a small town and have somehow never attended a major event of any kind, you might not understand what being around that many people is like. Fine. Good for you. I would love to be you. But most of us have, at the very least, been to some kind of concert or sporting event or political gathering where there have been several thousand people present. We know that 13,000 people is A LOT of people. Can you imagine that many people?

Good. Now imagine that that is your school. Next, imagine that you were a homeschooled introvert going to that school. I’m sure a few of you just shuddered. That is now my life. After spending almost an entire semester here, I’ve begun to figure a few things out. Here are a few tips for the introvert going to a large university.

First, find ways to be alone. It doesn’t matter how; just do it. I would suggest using the library a lot. Since you’re going to a big school, there is probably a big library somewhere. If your library is anything like mine, it has quiet zones where literally NO ONE is allowed to speak. These places will be your sanctuary. Find one, plop yourself down in a nice comfy chair, put your headphones on to block out the world, and open up a text book. You don’t even need to be reading it. Most people are considerate enough to leave you alone if they think you’re studying.

Another good way to find some alone time is take nice long walks by yourself. At my school, I live kind of high up on the side of a mountain, so going anywhere is a bit of a hike. However, there’s a popular little diner about a ten to fifteen minute walk away from me. I like to walk down there for dinner on certain evenings. It’s not a particularly hilly walk, but it is nice and quiet and gives me time to be away from the rest of campus for a little while. Of course, there is the downside that, depending on where you go to college, this isn’t exactly the safest way to find alone time. But if you’re committed, I’d invest in some Mace.

Another tip is to cultivate a small circle of friends. If you’re an introvert, chances are you probably already prefer to have a small group of friends, so that’s good. An advantage to having a small circle is that when you do want to hang out with people, there aren’t too many of them. They can also serve the same purpose as headphones, namely, cancelling out the extra noise. Being around people you like can have the tendency to put blinders on you and block out everything else. Therefore, ironically, it can be good for an introvert to make a few friends.

My final piece of advice is to use your weekends wisely. While I understand the temptation to want to go out and DO ALL THE STUFF. But sometimes that’s not the best idea. Sometimes, you might just need to stay in and recharge for the upcoming people-filled week. This last one goes for every college student. Weekends are important for studying, relaxing, and most of all, sleeping. Weekends: Use responsibly.

My next post will be some (more) angsty poetry that I wrote a few weeks ago when I was having all the trouble with my former (thank the good Lord) roommates. Don’t worry, if you’re not a poetry fan, I don’t see much more in your future. At least, not on this blog.

See y’all tomorrow!

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