How I Survived as an Introvert in a City Where I Knew Literally No One

I moved from Vestal, New York to Springfield, Missouri in the fall of 2011. I had gotten accepted to Evangel University and was SO PUMPED. I met my wonderful roommate and best friend Savannah on Facebook a month before, but otherwise had no connections with anyone else. It was a completely new city, with completely new people. Let me just say, I would not by any definition of the word describe myself as an extravert. Not. A. Chance. In high school, I had like four close friends and a few friendly acquaintances, but that’s about as crazy as it got. I spent all of my spare time in the art wing, hiding from the rest of the student population. I quit band my freshman year because I figured out we would have to perform at GRADUATION. ARE YOU JOKING? It was like the worst thing in the world to me, could you imagine performing in front of all of those people?! Quitting band is still a decision I regret very much, so if you’re contemplating quitting something or giving up on something, simply because it pushes you out of your comfort zone, I challenge you to take a step back and really think it through. Or you’ll end up like me, a girl who still looks regretfully at the flute that sits collecting dust in the back of her closet, wondering what could have been. Back to my original topic, moving to a new place should have scared me, right? Shouldn’t I have been terrified? I mean when I say I knew no one, I mean it. I had also never been to Springfield nor had I visited Evangel’s campus. But…I was so excited. When I look back on that time I remember just being overwhelmed with the excitement of new opportunities. I was excited because the people in Springfield didn’t know me. Because that meant that they didn’t know anything about me. They didn’t know that I was shy and awkward. They didn’t know that I was shy and awkward because of crippling insecurities. They didn’t have any perceptions or judgments of me. What I’m getting at is, it was an opportunity for me to reinvent myself; for me to decide who I wanted to be, and to grow in that.

Moving to a new city is a scary thing, but the attitude that you approach it with makes all the difference. For me, it was a chance to be someone new, be someone different, be my own person. I think it’s really easy to get caught up in the expectations of others, so much so that it shapes who we become as a person. Sometimes the people that shape us mean well, but they force us into a mold that we don’t necessarily fit. That’s why I left, that’s why I moved 1,000 miles away from anyone and everyone I knew and loved. I had to do what was best for me. Which I think is a decision more people should be more comfortable making. Being there for others and being who they want you to be is all fine and dandy, but are you really making yourself happy?

When I got to Evangel, I got involved in everything I possibly could. I even played flag football (but I still have no idea how football works so please don’t ask)! The best thing I did, though, was join something called “Hall Council.” It’s a team of girls that live in the dorm that works together to plan and host events for the rest of the hall residents. I started as the freshman representative, which meant that I was essentially the liaison between the freshman class and hall council. I eventually ended up serving as hall president for three years, and I loved every minute of it. I loved it because I found a team of likeminded people that I could relate to. I got to work with these amazing girls to plan events that brought people together. I loved it because I learned that I have leadership abilities, and it taught me how to be a better leader. And now I just love telling people what to do! I guess what I’m getting at is, finding a way to get involved in a community of people that you can work alongside of or relate to on any level really helps to transition into a new and scary place. You might even learn a few things about yourself.

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