Are you a teenage introvert trying to break out of your shell? If that sounds like you, keep reading. In high school, you could’ve pegged me for one of the shyest in my class. At times, I loved to be bold with my outfits and makeup. But underneath, I was afraid to speak most of the time. When the opportunity to go away to college arose, I took it in full swing. My parents told me that if I went to the community college, they would be able to buy me a car. However, I knew that the only way I would grow as a person was if I went away and lived on my own.
Having graduated college less than a year ago, I thought I’d share my thoughts. From one introvert to another, here are the reasons leaving home and attending college was worth it:
- Experiencing a new place. Unless you stay on a local campus, you’ll have the opportunity to explore a new environment, whether it’s a new city hours away or on the other side of the country (or if you’re lucky enough, even world). It can be exciting, but overwhelming and intimidating at the same time.
- Not relying as much on my parents. Being on my own at college made me feel more in control with my life and more sure of my actions. I learned a lot about myself, embraced uncertainty and always had my parents’ support just a phone call away. But I wasn’t at home every night with my parents asking me why I wasn’t out with classmates or at club meetings. I gained responsibility and independence and learned on my own how important those things were, which leads me to point #3…
- Forcing myself to branch out and meet new people. When you live in the dorms, you typically live with dozens of students on your floor. You make your own group of friends, different than the ones you had in high school. It can be scary not having your best friend to lean on in the beginning of your first semester, but you learn to confide in new people and make more best friends.
- Making more careful and thought-out decisions. In terms of money, you realize that you’re in transition to becoming an adult. Going to the mall and wasting $200 on clothes you’ll only wear Friday and Saturday nights is not a smart idea (only after realizing how broke you are). You’ll also learn to pick up faster on the types of people you should and shouldn’t get close to. Your mom and dad won’t be there to bail you out if you get in trouble, so choose your friends wisely.
- Getting more involved on campus. You won’t make the most of your college experience by cuddling up in your bed watching Netflix all night long. And when you have more than a five minute drive to campus, it can be hard to go to a club meeting once you arrive home after classes and unwind. Living on campus forced me to get out of the dorm building I was living in and attend different club meetings in an attempt to find two or three organizations that were most interesting to me. Additionally, becoming involved with clubs allowed me to later on run for executive board positions and eventually lead a club as co-president. If you told me back in high school that I would get up and speak confidently in front of 50+ people on a weekly basis in college, I would have laughed in your face.
- Gain confidence in myself. By physically being on my own and making a whole new group of friends, I was able to cut away from all the cady drama I faced in high school. I was able to move on and accept myself for who I was and in the process, found others who could accept me too. It may sound corny, but this was something I really struggled with in high school. Going away gave me a fresh start and new outlook on relationships.
With everything I experienced throughout my 3.5 years of college, I truly believe that I wouldn’t have grown as much emotionally as I did if I didn’t chose to go away. Having the true college experience is not overrated. You learn SO much about yourself. But I’m not here trying to put people who commute to local colleges down, but simply explaining why I think it’s worth the money to invest in living on campus if you’re an introvert trying to break out of our shell.
What was your college experience? As an introvert, did you find it helpful to go away? Or did you find that commuting your entire college experience was more worth it? I’d love to hear from you!
Author: Lauren Taylar
Lauren Taylar is a digital marketer and blogger. She is a recent graduate of the State University of New York at Oswego, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in public relations.