While parties are often a part of the post-secondary experience, bashful students may feel at a loss for how to act and react in these social settings. To ease these wallflowers’ woes, The Weal spoke with registered psychologist and former SAIT counsellor Emma Geoghegan to get the lowdown on how the timid can overcome their fears and boldly say ‘hello’ to a fun-filled college experience.
Geoghegan said that a lack of confidence and self-esteem are usually one of the main reasons behind a wallflower’s quiet nature.
“There are extroverted and introverted people,” Geoghegan said. “For the introverted ones, sometimes an on-campus counsellor could be of great help.”
These counsellors, she said, can be of assistance in overcoming timidity, as they can point you in the right direction to overcome the fears of social situations. She also suggested that students look into joining various student groups or clubs that fit with one’s interests because overcoming these wallflower-feelings does not just mean boosting one’s social life, but also learning to interact and communicate with people.
Many intramurals, on-campus volunteering opportunities and recreational activities can also prove to be a great way to open up and connect with large groups of people who may share some of your interests. For the shy set, the opportunity to be surrounded by likeminded folk can be a great asset since it can help them to loosen up and be more comfortable around others.
Simone Welsch, a first-year business management student, said that she finds it very difficult to “blend in” with her classmates and often feels like she needs some guidance on how to throw her shyness to the wind.
“I think I should try harder because I need to mingle more with my classmates,” Welsch said. “I am trying now, though, and I’ve managed to familiarize myself with some of them.”
First-year ACAD student Robyn Bennett used to find it very hard to open up to people, but has learned how to be more self-confident and outgoing.
“When I was in high school, I didn’t have many friends, and I barely went to any parties, or social events,” Bennett said. “But during my last year, I completely changed, I started going out of my way to talk to the people sitting next to me in class, and I made some amazing friends.”
After coming to ACAD, Bennett has attended four parties since the beginning of the semester, and is enjoying college life as much as she can.
“It may seem very difficult at first, but once you decide to just go out there, with a big smile and a friendly attitude, you’ll realize that there are people who are just as willing to mingle and make some interesting friends as you are,” she said.
The International Centre at SAIT, located on the second floor of the Stan Grad Centre, organizes a series of events every year such as horseback riding and pumpkin carving for students who feel the need to make new friends on campus and socialize.
For more information, contact SAIT’s international student advisor Maggie Knight by emailing her at email@example.com.