One thing I learned my first year as a college athlete was to be both dependent and independent at the same time. It took close to the whole school year for me to figure out how to do this, but to begin my second year I feel much more comfortable to follow this mentality.
Before and during my first year, several people continuously tried to tell me the importance of being your own person in college. Friends told me to go out and make unexpected friends and meet a bunch of people and join clubs. Family members and, most importantly, my sister, told me to make connections in classes and grow close to my sports team while remaining independent in my daily life on campus.
The one problem I found with all this advice I was given was one personal flaw that I didn’t suspect before but always was aware of. I’m an introvert. A social introvert, at that. In better words, an introverted extrovert. My siblings and I all identify with this term because we prefer to spend time in small groups or alone, but we don’t always like to be by ourselves and we don’t exactly struggle socially from lack of interaction. When I got to school, I made friends and got to know the team, but I am the kind of person to find one or two people to grow close to instead of finding a group of people to hang out with on a daily basis. My eventual mistake would turn out to be that I didn’t reach out to too many people once I made a friend. So I ended the year with one or two close friends and a few surface-level friends that I may not ever see again.
I wish I had made an effort to reach out to more people but it’s not built into my personality! I felt so overwhelmed in places where the people I was with knew everyone. There are times where you have to fend for yourself and become comfortable in your surroundings despite your lack of a want to branch out. I am still learning this and I know there is a much better choice of words to describe this feeling and experience somewhere in the world in someone else’s head. But for now, this is what I know and what I hope to take with me next Fall.