It was 3am and I was stuck in a place I couldn’t get back home from, desperately trying to fall asleep. I tried to bury myself into an unfamiliar couch, away from my persistent anxiety. It didn’t help that alcohol was slushing around in my system, this alcohol I had taken to feel socially normal, this alcohol that was now making me feel nauseous. As soon as it would turn into daytime, I’d bail.
I was beginning to become disenfranchised with the drinking, partying university culture. I do enjoy going out for drinks every now and then. But, there was just a limit I could take before my social anxiety would be unbearable. And I realised – you know what? So what? This is who I am. I don’t have to push myself to get wasted every Friday night to try to fit in. And there are heaps of people who don’t. You just hear about the people who do.
You might also be finding it hard to fit in, especially with social anxiety.
Not liking drinking/clubbing is one of them, but there are other reasons, for example:
– Not having the same interests
– People being in cliques
– Finding college difficult
There are different ways to solve being alone at university.
Don’t let labels define you
I remember one time I was at a party, and a random stranger asked if they could kiss me. I said no because I wasn’t feeling like it, I had just been introduced to this person, and I really just wanted to talk to my friends. I remember the sting I felt when someone called me a “prude”. People often throw these labels around, but don’t let them control the way you behave. Because at the end of the day, we’re complex people. Not boxes full of derogatory stereotypes.
University is a huge place with a variety of people
I know this is cliché to say, but there are heaps of societies, sports and volunteer groups you could probably join at your university.
You can still be friends with people who like drinking or partying
Parties or clubs aren’t the only contexts you can enjoy their company with. Don’t be completely closed off to them.
You don’t have to make friends at university
There are still other places, especially when you get social anxiety in college. Things in your local area, classes, your old friends, you name it. Many people don’t have friends at university, and instead search for connections outside of it.
Give it some time and have realistic expectations!
Making friends can sometimes take many months. Temper your expectations so that you don’t over-pressure yourself into having good conversations just after a few times of meeting people. It often takes awhile to also find a group of people that you can get along with.
Remember to stay true to yourself (yes, cheesy, but true).
What are the things you’ve struggled with when settling into university? Were there any things that worked? Comment and let me know.