Culture & Student Life

Life as a Shy and Introverted College Student – How To Overcome the Obstacles

shy and introverted college student hiding behind a book at the library
Photo by Mikhail Nilov on

For shy people, there is nothing worse than having to talk to someone they’ve never metTypically, shy people are also faced with the fear of saying the wrong thing and facing embarrassment. For introverted people, there is nothing more troublesome than having to talk to someone at all and getting past the small talk and exhaustion of leaving their home. The problem is, college requires interaction with others, especially when it comes to resolving a technical problem, talking to a counselor, asking the professor for help, and having to schedule peer groups for classes with complete strangers.

Unfortunately, these fears and obstacles can get in the way of our success and close the doors to new opportunities. What can be done to overcome the obstacles and have a successful college experience? Here are my top 5 tips for both introverts and shy students on how to overcome shyness and introversion in college, let’s get started!

Use Technology to Your Advantage

The pandemic has changed the way we communicate with people. Things that used to be done strictly in-person can now be done remotely. You can schedule remote appointments for counseling and join office hours with your professors on Zoom. You can also schedule group meetings for your classes via Zoom and join from the comfort of your home. 

Another advantage we have now is sending emails. Staff and faculty on campus are very good about answering quick questions if you send them an email. You can find their emails on the Ventura College website under their respective departments. 

Research and Write it Down

Sometimes what holds us back is not knowing what to say once we talk to certain individuals. Something I like to do is get organizeddo my research, and write it down. What do I mean by that? For example, if you are talking to a counselor or a professor, you can research more about the topic you are going to talk to them about at home. Next, you write down a list of topics or questions and have them ready with you

For shy people, this will help get your ideas and questions organized and make it easier to express yourself without getting tongue tied or forgetting what you were going to say. For introverts, this will allow you to get straight to the point of your appointments, which will result in less socializing and ending your meetings faster.

Avoid Imagining Negative Scenarios

Our imaginations can take a very negative route when we visualize having to interact with certain people, especially strangers. Our mind is so powerful it can allow us to think that people are horrible, that people don’t want to help us and that we will make a fool of ourselves.

However, in that same way, the mind can be so powerful that we can flip the scenario around. If we imagine positive outcomes from our interactions, we can enter the situations with confidence and with optimism. For shy people, that means not walking into a room with fear of judgement and fear of embarrassment, rather imagining that everything will go well and be successful. For introverted people, that means walking into a room not envisioning how exhausting and draining the situation will be for them, rather imagining that the experience will help them grow, resolve their problems and that after the interaction is over, it will allow them to focus their energy back on the things that matter.

Step out of Your Comfort Zone

We all love staying in our comfort zone because it’s a place where we feel safe and unbothered. However, many times the comfort zone doesn’t allow us to get the best experience we can have in college. Meeting strangers can be exhausting and daunting, but it can also be rewarding and beneficial to us. As easy as it is to send that email to your professor, you can have even more meaningful conversations in person with them or on zoom. As easy as it is to avoid all counselors, staff, and other students at the college, if you step out of your comfort zone, you can end up making great connections that can help you all throughout your college experience and even after college. Stepping out of your comfort zone even if occasionally, is worth a shot!

Remember We Are All Human

We can sometimes get into the bad habit of thinking that we are the only ones who are shy and introverted. However, we are all human. Every person with more authority you’ve spoken to, has felt lost or confused and has had to ask for help before. There are also people who have jobs that require speaking to people daily and yet they are introverted in nature. If we remember that we are all human, we can overcome many obstacles and face our fears knowing we aren’t the only ones who have felt that way.

If you remember to use technology to your advantage, to make a list of your questions, practice optimism and push aside negative thoughts you can successfully navigate through college with a breeze. I hope these tips can help you all have a more positive outlook when it comes to social interactions in college. If you guys have any more good tips please leave them in the comments, we would love to hear them! 

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