How to Break Out of Your Shell in College

Learn how to get outside of your comfort zone in college to make new friends, try new things, and fully enjoy the college experience.

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Two women talking in college

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 the dorms 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!

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