Alana George, Campus Carrier Asst. Arts & Living Editor
Growing up as an only child, I became self-sufficient very quickly. With no siblings to play with, I found games I could play by myself and my imagination grew bigger by the day. This self-sufficiency as a kid evolved into introversion as I got older, and as the list of implicit social rules grew longer. I would be so confused, and I still am, when a classmate had a problem with another classmate and they would not go to that person first. Instead, they would spread around rumors and speculations to at least three other people before they confronted the instigator to hear their side of the story.
As I went through my school years, I found that the best way to avoid the drama was to avoid the people starting the drama altogether: my classmates. I retreated into myself, into my music, into my books, into my schoolwork, and found solace there.
When I got to college last year, my little world got considerably bigger. I finally found some mature and positive people to do life with, and they have been the biggest blessing I could have asked for. But among this beautiful community at Berry, there is an implicit expectation to get involved in as many activities as possible. This is what I call our extroverted world. Berry students are expected to take intense classes, work a job, be involved in multiple clubs, and somehow shower, eat and sleep in between. A lot is demanded of us and we are expected to rise to the challenge, because we are Berry students – it’s what we are here to do.
As an introvert, being a Berry student can be exhausting. I have to fit everything I possibly can into one day, then wake up after six to seven hours of sleep and do it all over again. During my day, I try to find some little things to do to maintain my sanity; this is the power of an introvert. My beautiful campus definitely helps; the chirping birds and wind in the trees calm me every time I step outside.
I listen to music or call home while walking to class, I take time to watch a YouTube video or two while I eat meals, I try to keep things in perspective and push some things back if I really need to, and there are some days when I just don’t talk very much – even conversation and small talk are exhausting. There have been some nights where I have pushed three things back on my to-do list just to go to bed before midnight, and it has all turned out fine in the end. Still, if weekends did not exist, I would go crazy, or fall into a coma, or both. But, thankfully for me, weekends do exist, and this is where the power of being an introvert really shines.
During the weekends, I stay in my dorm as much as possible. During the week I try to keep my room as clean as I can, but there are some weeks where that just does not happen, so I use the weekend to engage in some much-needed self-care. This usually involves cleaning my room and doing laundry, diffusing essential oils and listening to my “Celtic Relax” playlist all the while. While my laundry washes and dries, I do homework; folding clothes is a great break. I will also usually do a facemask or use some of my Lush shower gel when I really need to.
Extroverts who want to just hang out with the friends that they never get to see during the week can push all of these things back, but they will find that this kind of life is not compatible with a college workload. This is why I am thankful to be a motivated introvert; I will finish what needs to be done, but I know when to take time for myself and thoroughly enjoy doing so. In our extroverted world, this is a hard lesson to learn, but it is so rewarding once learned and practiced. For all of my extroverted friends (I love you all and admire your social abilities, by the way): take a page out of your introverted friends’ book once in a while, and find what William Wordsworth called “the bliss of solitude.”