An Introvert's Guide to Orientation

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Three years ago I packed a little duffle bag (that ended up being too small so I grabbed a bigger duffle bag) and I headed off to orientation at MC. I had anticipated my life at MC starting for what felt like forever and orientation was the official start of my chapter as a choctaw. It didn't feel real, but it definitely felt a little scary. I knew orientation would be fun, but there was one thing that could keep me from making friends and enjoying my weekend: I'm an introvert. 

Urban dictionary says an introvert is, "Opposite of extrovert. A person who is energized by spending time alone. Often found in their homes, libraries, quiet parks that not many people know about, or other secluded places, introverts like to think and be alone. " 

Basically, it's common for introverts to be shy and prefer to be alone. I can go days without seeing people and feel great. I'm not always shy, but I prefer to be. Meeting new people, especially a lot of new people at one time, is the most terrifying and draining thing in the world. It's also what orientation is all about. 

Does this sound like you? If so, let's be friends that don't talk to each other. But also, today I'm here to help you out. Here are six ways for introverts to quietly enjoy orientation. 

Find your safe people.
This is my #1 piece of advice for all introverts in every social situation. At orientation, don't be afraid to make a lot of friends, but find your "safe people" (aka the people that don't drain you or make you feel like you can't be yourself) and do orientation with them by your side. 

Be yourself. 
Being MC means being yourself. It means embracing who you are, even if who you are is shy and introverted and quiet. Be that person. Don't believe the lies that you need to yell and scream and be someone you're not in order to make friends at orientation.

Push yourself beyond your limits, but give yourself grace. 
It'll be tempting to go to bed early and skip out on all the events that require a lot of energy and talking (okay, let's be honest... that's most of orientation). But don't do it. Push yourself to talk to new people, to go to the high energy events, and maybe even make friends with your orientation leader. But if you get to the end of day one and you don't think you can-- don't. There's grace.

Smile & take deep breaths. 
Smile, breathe, remember you are safe and loved, even out of your comfort zone. And repeat. 

Do not defeat yourself.
A lot of times, because I prefer to be quiet and alone, I go into social situations conviced that I'm going to be miserable. Look: don't be like me. Do not convince yourself that orientation is going to be bad because God didn't make you outgoing and extroverted and loud. Believe that orientation can be fun, ask Jesus to help you believe that, and keep an open mind the whole time. 

Be yourself.
Oh, did I already say this one? Whatever. It's important. 

Introverted friend, you can do this. You can go to orientation and you can thrive. You can make friends and start conversations and enjoy yourself. Don't box yourself into stereotypes or talk down to yourself because you're shy. Go to orientation, get excited for your life at MC, and prepare for a really great chapter of your life. 

Stay great,

Ashton
Introvert, reader, friend

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