right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
We've updated the Topics page of our website to better organize and share our expert content. Read more about it here.

Introvert vs Summer Camp

microssrunner17microssrunner17 111 replies37 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
edited June 2016 in Summer Programs
So in one week I'm going to be going to a 2 week summer program at a university near me, doing research with professors. I'll be staying in a dorm, which means I'll have a roommate, and about 20 other classmates. This summer program attracts kids from all over the country, and even the globe.

I'm pretty much the dictionary definition of introvert. My parents say I'm *too* introverted. I'm not a hermit; I just prefer spending time by myself rather than with big groups of people who just spend all day gossiping or doing other boring stuff. At school, I only have a handful of close friends, and I usually don't talk in class unless I have to. I never approach people first; I always let others approach me and start conversations and such. Part of the reason I'm so introverted is because I have social anxiety, which makes being an introvert so much more difficult. Going to this summer program will be my first time away from home, and I want to make it the best experience I can, because I've been looking forward to this for like six months.

My problem is... I just CANT be outgoing. Trust me, I've tried plenty of times over the years. Going to therapy and learning how to deal with my social anxiety got me out of my shell a little bit, but it's still a daily struggle. I can't even say hi to my teachers in the morning without stuttering and making a fool out of myself. When talking to people, I feel like I'm so awkward because I never know what to say or do to fit in with everyone else and keep the conversation going smoothly.

So, my question is, how can an introvert like me survive these 2 weeks? I want to become good friends with my dorm mate and my classmates, and I don't want to be that shy girl that everyone takes under their wing because they feel bad for her. I'm fun and have a great personality, it just takes a while for me to open up to people. How can I be more outgoing and make people want to become friends with me? I know I have to "fake it till I make it", but like, HOW do I do that?? It's time that I finally break out of my shell, I just need a little push of motivation to do so.
edited June 2016
1 replies
· Reply · Share

Replies to: Introvert vs Summer Camp

  • Lbelle43Lbelle43 98 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Hey! I'm very similar to you in that I am incredibly introverted with a lot of social anxiety to go along with that. But I have gone to sleep away camp for seven years and attended a week long residential summer program last year.

    The first few days have always been very tough. The most important lesson I've learned is that you really need to make an effort during those days. In the beginning of any program, most people usually won't know each other. This is the time when everyone is uncomfortable and you will fit right in. It is much easier to make friends during the first day than later on, as people will form their groups rather quickly.
    In a small program like yours seems to be, you will most likely meet everyone within the first couple of days. That's great, it means you don't have to make a conscious effort to choose who to hang out with because you can hang out with everyone. Just make sure to introduce yourself on the first day so you don't get left out, even if it's just smiling and saying, "Hi, I'm ____. What's your name?"

    Also, I've learned that my shyness can often be taken as superiority/conceitedness to people who don't know me. Even if you can't start a conversation, be sure to smile or politely say hello so people don't mistake your anxiety as rudeness and get deterred from talking to you.

    Don't let yourself be alone for the first day or two. Sit down with a new person at dinner. When I did this, I ended up meeting two Portuguese girls who barely spoke English. I never saw them again, but I felt a lot more comfortable taking to people after that. Don't go straight to bed after classes/activities end. Go to your dorm's common room and see what's going on there. Join in some activities planned by your RAs. Also remember that everyone there is interested in the same thing as you - use that as a conversation starter. I started to have a conversation with my RA about a rare disease I was interested in, and by the end almost ten girls had joined in because they found it fascinating, too. Use common interests to your advantage.

    I hope this was helpful. I guess the most important takeaway is the significance of time - a day of discomfort in the beginning is a thousand times better than two weeks of loneliness. Try to remember that in the moment, although it is easier said than done. It may be hard but it will be worth it in the end. Feel free to ask me if you need clarification or any other advice about this kind of thing.

    Have a great time at your program!
    · Reply · Share
This discussion has been closed.

Recent Activity