An Introvert's University Experience


University can understandably be scary for introverts who are not very good at stepping out of their comfort zones. As quoted by Gene Belcher, "There's too much pressure to enjoy yourself!" Admittedly, he was referring to summer but I think that quote can be interchangeable with university; there's too much pressure to "get out there" and "go wild" because it will "be the best time of your life." Apologies for the quotations (I'm making them up as I go along). Also, before I go any further: take a shot every time the word university is mentioned in this blog. To get into the spirit.

Freshers
The first year is so exciting; there's so many things to do and people who are super open to making conversations with you. There are fairs and events and everyone wants to be friends with everyone.

I decided to live off-campus for first year (something which everyone at uni seemed to be shocked and confused by) to save money. Due to this, I believe I "missed out" on a lot, especially on the sense of community there seems to be with halls. During freshers I didn't go on any night outs, I actually only went out twice for the entire of first year.  It's one of the little regrets I have with university; I wish I had taken advantage of the fact that first year's grades do not count towards your final grades and let myself loose (just a little).

Making "friends for life"
I'm a picky person in general and I'm even more picky with the people I decide to be around. That, on top of being extremely shy, it was hard for me to even make eye contact with people.

I haven't made any long-life friends but that's all on me. I wasn't involved with any societies or extra curricular, which would've been a great opportunity to meet new people with similar interests and also build on your CV. I wish to stress that I wouldn't recommend what I did, which was close myself off and not putting myself out there. I found it easier and less stressful to be around fewer people, the longer I was around others the more exhausted I felt.

For first year, I lived with 3 boys and we didn't have a relationship beyond a "hi" and "bye" whenever we overlapped in the kitchen. Second year, I was lucky to have the chance to live with 4 amazing bunch of guys. We were more social and we all got along. Currently, we still keep in touch and hopefully we'll get to see each other around more once we return from our placements.


Nights out
In first year I barely went on nights out, I was a little better at this during second year as I was closer to my flatmates and most of the nights we had was a flat night out. I enjoy a little alcohol, it relaxes me and it makes me feel more confident in myself. I like going out with good people and good music and forgetting my academic responsibilities for a little while.

Nights out at Loughborough is a sausage fest. If you don't already know: Loughborough University is ranked fairly high for engineering and sports so as a whole the ratio is 60:40 male/female (I lived with all boys for first and second year and they were all studying engineering degrees). When you pair this fact with the university culture of sex and hookups; there's people left and right and centre full on nearing having sex in the union. 



I was in a relationship for my entire first two years of university so I didn't go out with the intention to "pull" or get lucky, but I know if I wanted to it would've been a piece of cake (as a female in Loughborough). During freshers, I lost the people I had gone on my night out with and during the little space of me being alone I was approached by three guys. Most of the nights you'll have the same thing, too. It's strange because I've been on nights out in other places before and it's never like that anywhere else. 

I had the typical experience of losing my friends, throwing up because I overestimated my limit and had way too much alcohol,  and making "friends" at the queue. 


Casual hookups
Having casual sex with as many people as you can seem to be this unspoken rule at university. I've heard people having score boards to see who's done it more, stories of the walk of shame, and waking up with a new person every morning.

I've personally never had that experience myself. However - a little juicy fun fact - Ash and I started off as a casual hookup. When we met, it was on a night out with my flatmates. This was when I had just freshly broken up with my boyfriend at the time, so it was a first for me to "pull" at the union. We danced all night but I absolutely refused to kiss him. It was a confusing time for me with the breakup and I wasn't sure if it was the right thing to do, even if technically it wasn't wrong. We both went our separate ways after that night, having exchanged numbers.

We met again a few weeks later for a coffee, it was one of those, "we're both obviously very attracted to each other so let's do it." After the first time, we continued to keep in touch and met up regularly. We got on really well and had amazing conversions. My thought process during that period was that I've never fully lived the "uni life" or had casual relationships with people before. So for the first few weeks, Ash and I continued to meet and have casual sex. We both communicated clearly to each other what we wanted, stating that we enjoyed each other's company but if one of us were to sleep with other people we'd be cool with it as long as we let each other know. 

As you can see, it didn't stay that way for long. We started to develop feelings for each other after a few weeks and decided that we wanted to be together (and that the thought of the either of us sleeping with other people didn't sit well with us aha).

Lectures
I was pretty good with attending my lectures for the most of it, but there were definitely times where I just could not find the motivation to get out of bed for that 9AM. There were lecturers who only read off of the powerpoint slides and lecturers who put us into groups for "discussions" (omg those were the worse).  I found myself often skipping lectures to catch up with a different lecture or doing essays. If I had simply turned up to all my lectures and made good use of my free time to do my readings and assignments, I would not have to do that. 

As I wasn't very close to people on my course, I found myself struggling with the assignments alone as I couldn't pop up to a friend and ask. Or if the lecture changed rooms and I was lost, I had to struggle and find it on my own. During the first semester - as everyone was keen on getting to know as many people as possible - I had a few people who I would sit with or would have the typical, "Hi! How are you? Let's walk together to lectures because I recognise your face." For the first few months, there were about 3 people I talked to on a casual basis whose names I didn't even know.


Budgeting 
People who aren't used to having such a large sum of money in their accounts, I've found, will often be overwhelmed when the student loans come through and splash the money on designer things or technology gadgets because they don't know how else to manage it. They then in turn not have enough for rent or food.

For me personally, I did go through a phase of spending way too much on online shopping once my loans came through. However, one of my most guilty crimes was ordering takeaways too often when I was hungry because I wasn't very good at cooking. I have spent way too much money on Dominos.

It got better when I had my part time job and I was never living on jam and bread, but I learned a lot on how to manage my money and the value of things.

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And that's it for my personal university experience as an introvert! Some of them won't be majorly different from your own experience but I hope it was a fun read and that it gave you a little insight to what I'm like.

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