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How to Break Out of Your Shell in College


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College is such a unique time in your life. You’re in a rare limbo: you have the independence of being an adult, without all the responsibilities, and the freedom of still being young without having to be looked after.

Since this special era only last a few years, we all strive to make the most of it. One of the best ways to make the most of your college years is to break out of your shell and really explore what the world has to offer. Read on for some simple ways to escape your comfort zone so you can make the most of your college experience.

Meeting New People

  • If you’re living in rez during your first year, you know it is nearly impossible to not meet new people around your dorm. However, it shouldn’t end at learning a few new names and hometowns; take time to get to know these new friends and strangers on a deeper level.
  • Talk to people that you maybe wouldn’t have given the time of day in high school. You’re not going to become BFF with every person you meet, but you’ll get to hear about all kinds of backgrounds and lifestyles that you may never have been exposed to otherwise. Resist the urge to make snap judgments and you’ll expand your social horizons.
  • Ask questions! The easiest way to get to know someone is to take an active interest in them, so when meeting a new person, ask them plenty of questions and you’ll get to know them on a deeper level. In addition, everyone’s favorite topic is, you guessed it, themselves, so by asking people questions about themselves, you will make them like you more. It’s a win-win.
  • The great thing about learning about new people is you get a chance to share a part of yourself, and this pushes you to really think about who you are and what you’re all about. You can start to realize your best qualities, and think about some that maybe you want to change, which are both great steps towards becoming the person you want to be.

Some girls change a lot in college, others just further define their existing sense of identity. Either way, meeting new people and learning about them is a positive experience that will benefit you for the rest of your life!

Going New Places

Moving to a new city, state, or even country is a part of the college experience for lots of girls, but even if you stay close to home, there are lots of opportunities in college for you to explore new places. It’s essential that you make the most of this!

  • Make an effort to go places you haven’t been: checking out that used record store the guy in your English lit. class recommended or going to open mic night at the campus coffee house with your new dorm mates can open your eyes to a whole new world, a world you might just fall in love with.
  • Take advantage of study abroad! If you’ve always wanted to travel to the UK, Europe, Australia, or Asia, this may be your best opportunity, and the school will usually foot some of the bill, or help you out with scholarships and bursaries. Check out your school’s website or student resource office as early as possible to find out what is available so you don’t miss out on any once-in-a-lifetime exchanges.
  • Visit your college friends in their hometowns! This can be a great summer trip idea that will expand your horizons and probably won’t cost a lot of money. It’s interesting to see how other people live on a day-to-day basis, and will help you bond with your friend even more as well. What’s not to love?

Having New Experiences

Like meeting new people and going new places, doing new things you’ve never tried before is a really important part of college as well; it’s important as essays, exams, and everyday classes!

  • You’ll take so much more away from college if you attend the odd football game or dance class. Your college, college town, and surrounding area are just full of new experiences waiting for you to take part in. I’m not saying you have to go to every keg party you get invited to, but you might kick yourself in four years if you’ve never even been to one. So push yourself outside your comfort zone and say “Yes” more often. You’ll be glad you did.
  • Strive for balance, but realize that no one is perfect. Balancing life experiences with the academic will not only provide you with some unforgettable memories, but it will help you later in life when you’re working at balancing your career, family, friends, and whatever other endeavors you choose to pursue. Just don’t get so focused on balance that you miss out on the fun stuff – sometimes you have to skip that early-morning class because you stayed out too late having fun the night before, and that’s OK. There’s no such thing as perfect; your best is all that matters.

What do you think?

What have been your best attempts at breaking out of your shell in college? Are you in high school and worried about making the most of your college years? Let me know in a comment!

Posted on on July 4, 2010 / Filed Under: College Life / Tags: , , ,

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23 Responses to “How to Break Out of Your Shell in College”

  1. 1
    July 4th, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Great advice Kaleigh! Thanks!

  2. 2
    July 4th, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Great advice I will deffently follow it when I start college this fall! :)

  3. 3
    July 4th, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Good advice. Not everything is useful to me, but most of it definitely is. I’m starting college soon and I’ve been thinking about this for some time, so thanks!

  4. 4
    July 4th, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    I like this article, but some of it doesn’t pertain to me. What about an article for people who are living off-campus, AND at home? It’s a unique situation, since you know your town and it’s harder to meet people living off-campus.

  5. 5
    July 4th, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Thanks for this advice! I’m attending college in the fall and I’m a little nervous since I’ve been described as ‘an acquired taste’. Just one thing though: When you say ask questions, could you give examples of questions that aren’t so standard? (i.e. What’s your major, where are you from, etc.) I want to seem somewhat original, lol.

  6. 6
    July 4th, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    Very helpful tips! I wish I had this advice when I went off to college!

  7. 7
    July 4th, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    Thanks for all the good advices! :) And I just wanna say: UK is not the only country worth visiting in Europe;) Even if you aren’t interested in history you should see Greece or Italy.
    And of course my beautiful Poland! :]

  8. 8
    July 5th, 2010 at 4:31 am

    Very helpful tips! I wish I had this advice when I went off to college!

  9. 9
    July 5th, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    My first year in college was actually really fun. It was the best and most memorable year for me! New experiences, new friends and all.. But then, after being in college for about 2 years plus now, I feel so ‘seasoned’! Like, i’ve been here too long and there’s no more new faces, or the freshies are just always hanging with freshies themselves.
    I am doing my internship now and i am hoping that when i go back to college next month, I can start fresh again! That time, I will definitely keep this advice in mind for breaking that tough shell =)

  10. 10
    July 5th, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    that picture is from UCLA! a great college to break out of your shell at :)

  11. 11
    July 5th, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Lo, I go to UCLA and I didn’t even notice it, lol.

    But in regards to this article, I think this is a great idea. In fact, I was just trying to figure out how to break out of my shell as a second year. First year was fun and I did make some friends, but I don’t feel like it was truly memorable.

    Thanks for giving some tips to benefit all of us at college, regardless of how far along we are on our journey.

  12. 12
    July 5th, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    Great article, Kaleigh! I love seeing pieces like this on CF, and I’m glad you’re writing here too.

  13. 13
    July 5th, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    These are really good tips! My college experience will be a little different though, I’m living at home and going to a community college for the first two years :/

  14. 14
    July 5th, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    This is an awesome Kaleigh! And its even more awesome that you are from Western! I’m going into my third year at Western. I will definitely attend the odd Mustang games from now on :)

  15. 15
    July 6th, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Hey girls, thanks for all the kind comments! I’m so excited to be getting to write for College Fashion this summer (I’ve been a fan for years!)

    It’s true that these tips don’t just apply to first years. I have been so focused on my studies for the last few years that I feel like I’ve been missing out, so I’m definitely going to try some of my own advice in my senior year this fall!

    Emily-Yay! A fellow Mustang! Pay attention to the cheerleaders if you go to a football game, they have been national and international champions for over a decade!

  16. 16
    July 7th, 2010 at 1:07 am

    A suggestion if you’re going to school but live at home and off-campus: join a club! I was in a sorority, so I would say check out Greek life. I realize that’s not right for everyone. Colleges have clubs for the most random things you could ever think of. They probably have a website on the school’s page. Most schools also have some unifying office or a club day so you can learn more about them. That’s what my dad did when he went to school, and those are some of the only people he keeps in touch with from his college days.

  17. 17
    July 7th, 2010 at 6:23 am

    great advice!!
    i have a year in the USA (i’m from England) and I go in a few weeks and I’m so nervous cause while I’m really confident with my friends I get a bit nervous around new people and I’m worried I won’t make any friends because I found my first year of university really hard in England so I’m even more scared of not making any friends abroad!
    I can’t wait to join lots of groups and clubs and I hope people will be nice!!

    Charlotte xxx

  18. 18
    July 17th, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Very well said. :D

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