College for introverted extroverts

While scrolling through your newsfeed every day, there’s no doubt that you’ve come across an article or two about introverted and extroverted people and the quirky little details of their lives. It seems like society finds new ways to categorize us all into little boxes these days, but of course, people are a lot more complex than just one or the other.

Personality type is on a spectrum. Those with a balance of introverted and extroverted characteristics are labeled as ambiverts. Photo source Wikimedia Commons.

Introverted extroverts are, in a loose definition, people who typically behave like extroverts but have introverted tendencies. For example, somebody may be the outgoing one in a group of friends, but when faced with new people they can become more reserved, as an introvert might. As someone who personally identifies as an introverted extrovert, college was definitely a situation in which my own introverted tendencies rose to the surface.

College is very much about figuring out who you are and what you want to do in life, and that journey requires you to muster up a lot of courage and enthusiasm for what you’re learning. This was something that I was really excited about.  I often imagined myself stepping up in college and being a leader, which is something I always considered myself very good at in high school.

I was definitely the one in my friend groups who got out there and wasn’t afraid to take charge to get things done– mostly because I associated with introverts, primarily. I found that when I started my classes at Cabrini, it became a little harder to do so around new faces and personalities.

Carl Jung was one of the first people to psychologically define introversion and extraversion. Quote from Brainy Quote. Graphic by Coraline Pettine.

It was a sudden drop of confidence and self-assurance around people I wasn’t fully comfortable with and I realized that maybe I wasn’t as extroverted as I thought. You become so used to feeling like you’re an open book that you forget that it’s okay to not be and it can be discouraging.

This concept applies to college life all around, not just academically. If you were lucky enough to know your roommate before freshman year, that’s wonderful because a stranger can be difficult for anybody, especially an introverted extrovert.

If you’re extroverted, getting to know your new stranger roomie can be a project of ease with conversation and instant bonding, and if you’re introverted, you can happily build a slight communication of understanding and then keep to yourself I’d imagine. But when you’re an introverted extrovert, it’s hard to figure out where to begin.

You want so badly to get along and have your roommate be your best friend, and you believe that you possess the personality and skills to do so, but when the time for conversation comes you just don’t say the things that you wish you would have said. It’s almost like a constant stage fright, but instead of performing a talent, you’re just performing you. Even just making friends can be difficult, especially when people seem to already have found their place and it feels like there just might not be any room for you, despite how well you think you could get along with them.

The life of an introverted extrovert seems like nothing but struggle, but in truth, it’s a really wonderful thing. While some things might be harder to initially get out there and do, once you’re in it, you excel farther than you thought you could because of your extroverted and leading nature.

Similarly, when it comes to people and relationships, once somebody can break through your initial borders, you can have the closest relationships and bonds with them that can last a lifetime.

At the end of the day, being an introverted extrovert does not mean being a walking paradox, it simply means that you can be content with loving the best of both worlds when it comes to personality types. Being in college is the perfect time to explore the mixed and equally great traits that make you, you.

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