College can be Hell for Introverts

I wonder how many introverts can relate to this description of college life.  It sure rings true for me

Introverts vs. Roommates                 

We all know that going to college is the perfect opportunity to meet lots of new people, share a dorm or apartment with a roommate, and basically do everything your average introvert hates.  What’s worse, our classmates don’t understand why we don’t want to attend their parties, and our roommates don’t understand why we have to spend so much time in our rooms with the door closed.               

At the apartments I stay at during the school year, everyone is required to have a roommate unless there’s none available, and you don’t even get to pick who you want to room with – they just kind of reach into a hat, pull out a name, and stick you in an apartment with them.  They send you a little letter explaining which room you’ll be in and give you the name of your roommate.  There’s no other information about him/her other than his/her name.               

Needless to say, this kind of system has a knack for driving me crazy.  I ended up with a young man whose major is in the medical field.  Things went exceptionally well when we met.  We introduced ourselves, told each other what our majors were where we lived, etc.  However, there couldn’t be two more different people living under the same roof.  There are the little things, of course, such as his little policies (“Don’t leave a tube of toothpaste on the bathroom sink!  Put it in a drawer along with your toothbrush, and I don’t want to see a rinsing cup there, either!”), but by far the biggest difference is in our temperaments.  He is extremely extroverted, while I am extremely introverted.  I sometimes wonder if I border an avoidant personality, whereas he is certainly one of the most outgoing guys I’ve ever known.               

 He doesn’t seem to understand that when I’m locked in my room, it’s not because I hate him, but because I’m just too burnt out to spend time with people.  After a day of school and trying in vain to get those participation points, I just don’t want to talk to people anymore.  Moreover, this guy doesn’t seem to know what silence is!  The minute he wakes up, he turns on the TV and the radio, and really keeps them loud.  They stay on until he goes to bed at night, and if I turn them off, he immediately turns them back on.  It’s really annoying, but he can’t seem to concentrate on anything unless there’s noise in the background.               

He also doesn’t care what kind of noise.  If Sesame Street is what’s playing in the morning (we only have a few local channels), then so be it.  Or, he’ll put in a DVD, walk away, and let the menu play over and over again for hours.  Then he wonders why I remain in my room.  A big reason is that I just can’t stand the noise!  I have never appreciated silence more in my entire life.                Roommates in the past also don’t understand me.  Strangers scare me to death, and I hate being thrown into a living space with someone I’ve never met, so maybe I am part of the problem.  I understand that no one really likes a roommate, with the exception of a few, but they tend to think that my lack of socializing and partying is due to me either hating them or being antisocial.  They mostly just ignore me, giving me cold looks, nitpicking me, and sometimes just refusing to acknowledge that I’m around.                I don’t know how many introverts have problems like this.  Like I said, I’m introverted to the point where it’s problematic, and people tend to frighten me anyway.  If I could change one thing, it would be that the apartments I stay at would allow us the options to room alone or at least pick our roommates.  I don’t know a lot of introverted people other than my best friend, so I have no idea if this problem is persistent with them, but I wish I could find a way to make it easier on both myself and my roommate.

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~ by nancyfenn on October 6, 2006.

2 Responses to “College can be Hell for Introverts”

  1. The ‘college roommate’ set up is unbearable for introverts.
    If schools had any emotional intelligence, they’d have ‘introvert or extrovert’ on their housing applications.

    I went thru hell with roommates until I qualified for a single! That was living. I was never happier.

  2. Great idea!!

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