First day of college approaches soon. For any introvert, this can be a daunting experience. Meeting new people in a completely new setting and being forced to have conversations with people who may or may not turn out to be friends.
Here are a few tips for introverts to rock that first day of college. Or at least survive it.
- Get your clothes ready
You need to look good on your first day. Clothes are the main reason why people will start talking to you (“in a world which values physical appearances more than mental morality“). There are many ways you could play this game of fashion. Go for a simple jeans and t-shirt approach. And add some funk with bracelets and earrings. Wearing unique accessories can help in others initiating conversations with you. Make sure you keep these things ready and within reach, so you don’t end up fumbling about searching for something and get late for your first day.
Another point you must note: Carefully select the shoes you are going to wear. I do not recommend high-heeled shoes at all on the first day. It is very tempting to wear the sexiest pair of heels in your wardrobe on the first day. But the pain in the ankles will spoil your day horribly. A pair of sneakers would be cool. Flip-flops are frowned upon by some colleges, so make sure you have all the info of your college’s dress code before you wear them.
- Pack your bag
Make sure you have a notebook and a pencil pouch in your bag. It may seem uncool to look like a nerd on the first day, but there are reasons why you need to do so. First, you can end up lending some stationery to someone and thus strike up a conversation with them. Second, you need stationery to write down any important notices and numbers. You could also use it to make a quick note of the classrooms on each floor. The projects that you are required to submit. Tentative dates of examinations. Or to play a simple game of X and O with yourself.
- Set an alarm
This point is not necessary if you attend college in the afternoon. But if you have to attend lectures in the morning, it’s best to set an alarm the night before. Include travelling time, time needed to get ready, time needed for breakfast and time needed for pressing the snooze button.
- Revise something
No, I’m not asking you to read the entire course book, or get ready for a surprise test. I am asking you to revise a few facts about your favourite hobbies. Be it playing or watching sports, reading books, listening to music, you can just memorise four-five fun facts. It makes for interesting conversation, and thus you can find friends who share similar interests like you.
Like, do you know that the #Maroon5Day was inaugurated as an annual campaign to celebrate the universal messages of music and philanthropy and help raise awareness about UNICEF’s work for children around the world? And that it coincided with the 14th anniversary of the band’s first album, ‘Songs about Jane’? #NerdAlert
- Charge your phone
To 100%. Make sure you have the telephone number of the college office saved in your contacts. And any Map app downloaded. And a functional data connection. And make sure you click a picture of the class timetable. You can also use your phone as an excuse to not talk to people (if you don’t feel like it).Phubbing is a god-sent gift for introverts, I tell you.
- Prepare an introduction
You may be asked to introduce yourself, and it’s a brilliant way to get friends. As an introvert, you may or may not be scared of public speaking. Either way, preparing yourself is a good idea to let go of this fear. You should prepare an introduction the night before, and not just after the teacher asks you to prepare one. This gives you time to listen to the others speak (and thus hunt for #Maroon5 fans), and also helps you calm your nerves. If you wish to go one step further, practice your introduction in front of a mirror the night before.
Feel free to mention any specific skill that you have, like rapping or dancing. Just don’t mention any nerdy skills like coin-collecting or stamp-collecting. And DON’T say you are a numismatist or a philatelist. There’s a time and place for every skill and showing it off, and first days are not one of them.
- Wear your earphones
No, this is not to be done with the intention of ignoring people. It’s just a trick to help you stay calm. First days are usually noisy affairs, and this may make you scared, sad, irritated or moody (as is common with most introverts). To beat this eventuality, load up your phone with a happy playlist and listen to music for a while. And puh-lease, don’t shake your head or start doing a groovy tap dance while you’re listening to the beats
- Find your class
Check out for a map of the college layout in the ground floor, or read those handy signs put up on each floor which tell you what’s on that floor. Don’t ignore people who ask you for directions to their classroom, only because A. you don’t know it yourself B. you don’t want to remove the earphones. Tell them that you don’t know the directions with a smile. And if someone happens to be asking for the same classroom that you need to go to, join them in the quest!
- Select a bench to sit on
Now this is the most trickiest parts. If you are early to class, you have a choice of where you can sit. But if you arrive late, or after everyone has already captured their kingdoms, you won’t have a choice. You would end up squeezing in with someone, or hiking it to the last bench. Or worse, you’ll end up sitting alone on the first bench (“Guess where she was seated“). It’s best to reach your classroom early and check out the number of fans, lights and windows. Most colleges start in the rainy season here, so it’s best to steer clear from the windows and towards the lights. Also, make sure you have an unobstructed view of the teacher and the black board (“Or white board or green board or projector screen or whatever fancy terms you kids use these days“).
- Smile to your classmates
No, don’t creep them out by casting too-wide grins. Neither should you scare them off by flashing your braces. Just remember to smile back at anyone who does smile at you, or seems interested in being friends with you. The only downside of this is that you may end up smiling at them, and they’ll turn away looking revolted. Because they were actually staring at some dirt that had found its way on your chin. Hence, use your smile judiciously.
- Join a WhatsApp group
The group may or may not be created on the first day itself. But make sure you ask the right people and find out soon enough who is the admin of the group. The reason for joining a class WhatsApp group is so that you can get updates about any important exams or project submissions or anything that needs to be known.
After surviving (or enjoying) your first day, you could go home and sleep off the bad dream.
First days are bound to be weird days, so don’t make wild assumptions about your future college life on the basis of just one day spent in its vicinity. Go through the entire first week with a positive attitude, and don’t worry about what lies ahead. You surely will enjoy these days to the fullest.
For some more tips about what you should do in college after settling down, read this guest post.
All the best, and let the College Games begin!
Fun fact sourced at UNICEF USA