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Quite, introvert dd going to uni, need advice, tips or reassurance.

(56 Posts)
Chrissy1972 Sun 02-Aug-15 17:15:22

We have been worried for some time with how dd is going to cope at uni in Sept (pending results). She's a introvert, likes to work alone/ independently has a few close friends that are similar to her, shes not at all a social butterfly, dislikes crowds and too much noise, prefers to work behind the scenes and doesn't like attention.
The problem is I feel Uni seems to gear more towards the extroverts, socially and guessing there will be team group work and presentations, so I'm worried she will feel overwhelmed, won't be able to make friends and feel an outcast. Although I know she is used to that kind of life from school but I don't really want her to have to do the same at uni. She says she will always be a introvert and will try and adapt.
I think maybe me and DH is more anxious then she is.
Part of it is to to do with her confidence as she was bullied when she was younger and part due to her quite placid personality. Shes a bright child straight A*/A gcse and all A's in her AS's one of her teachers was quite blunt in her last term at 6th form, pointed out that she won't go far in life with getting jobs if she doesn't speak up, and act more confidently and that it's not all about having intelligence and good grades, if she can't impress in a job interview her hard work will be for nothing. Whilst I understand what he is saying, it doesn't make it easier for us.
Anyone out there who has gone through similar situation, any tips or advice for us or dd. Or should me and DH just let dd find her own feet and not to worry too much.
Thanks to anyone who can advise or for anyone who is in same boat as us. How are you coping and are you worried like us.

onadifferentplanet Sun 02-Aug-15 18:00:22

Has she joined any groups on FB for people on her course. Ds has got to know lots of people this way during the summer they have Skype chats and have already arranged a couple of pre term meet ups. Whilst I don't suppose they will all become life long friends it is much easier if you can recognise a few friendly faces in the early days. Ds is not into clubbing and doesn't drink and has found it much easier to let others know up front that he isn't into all that and has found quite a lot of like minded people.

lionheart Sun 02-Aug-15 19:54:04

Chrissy, if she is living in hall, the most basic thing she can do is leave her door open when she first arrives.

In relation to her studies, she should have a personal tutor and it would be worth her talking to them if she finds it hard to participate. I tell new students that they should aim to contribute something to every seminar they attend, even if it is just, 'I didn't understand this' or 'Can I ask about x,y,z'? If you don't dive in at the start it becomes harder to do as the weeks go by but if you do, it will quickly become second nature.

She will not be the only introvert, by any means and increasingly, universities are aware of the kinds of skills students need to move on in terms of interviews and jobs. If she is in a decent department, her lecturers/tutors will work with her to build her confidence.

She will find her friends, just as most students do. smile

senua Sun 02-Aug-15 20:17:42

There probably will be groupwork and presentations but that's a useful skill to learn for work (and she's done it at school already).
However, you don't have to be a social butterfly. It may seem that everyone else is mega-social but that's only because you notice the noisy ones. She just has to hold her nerve until Freshers is over when proper work kicks in and everyone calms down. There will be similar quiet ones but they will be harder to find. If she joins societies she will find like-minded people.

TooMuchRain Sun 02-Aug-15 20:24:13

It is likely that she will be expected to do group work and presentations but they won't be high-weighted in marks and she will almost certainly get to choose who she works with if she wants. Last year two students came to tell me separately that they found groupwork problematic (panic attacks and on the spectrum they said) and they ended up working together and did very well. She would do well to tell her tutors if she is anxious. Hope that helps smile

reallybadidea Sun 02-Aug-15 20:28:20

There are all types of people at university, just like in any walk of life. They won't all be partying extroverts, honestly!

As someone else said, encourage her to leave her door open so people see her as being friendly and try and get her to join a society or two that she is interested in.

She will be fine.

eatyourveg Sun 02-Aug-15 20:34:13

ds isn't a clubbing/drinking sort at all and is socially a wallflower - he found joining societies was the best way to meet people, there are all sorts out there - he joined the film club, the non competitive football team (loves it just can't play it very well) and the student magazine. His friends seem to all be people from the creative writing society.

There will definitely be many others of a similar ilk to your dd wherever she goes. One university we visited on an open day appoints student ambassadors that have a peer mentoring type role. Each new student is allocated a 2nd or 3rd year contact who knocks on their door during the first few weeks to offer reassurance, encouragement or information about any other aspect of uni life. I was quite impressed and thought it would be lovely if every place could adopt the approach

SweetCharityBeginsAtHome Sun 02-Aug-15 20:39:47

Societies and clubs are key IMO - they really are the water wings/training wheels of socialisation for the shy. And if she really loves her subject that will help as well because it will be easier to speak up.

JeanneDeMontbaston Sun 02-Aug-15 21:06:20

I think there are always groups of like-minded people who prefer things a bit quieter - she just needs to find the right group, and it might take a bit of trying.

If she is nervous about group work etc., it might be worth her raising this early with a personal tutor or the person teaching that bit of the course - not to ask them to change anything, obviously, just to ask if they've tips for how best to manage. I've had a couple of students recently who had really difficult issues (bad anxiety, and ASD), and I think it made life easier that both they and I knew that they were overcoming a lot in order to participate in some bits of the course. Both did really well in the end.

I don't know where your DD is going, but at every university I know of, teachers say that students don't often come to open office hours to raise issues. So students who do come are extra welcome. She'll learn confidence in the end, but there are different ways of being confident, and if she prefers to be quiet and unobtrusive that ought to be fine.

Roussette Sun 02-Aug-15 21:11:35

I would suggest she gets some sort of part time job before going to Uni.. a summer seasonal thing. My DD sounds similar to yours and she got a job waitressing and it honestly was the making of her in a way. She had to engage and talk to customers, it brought her out of her shell.

Then when she got to Uni, she joined the most random clubs imaginable! One was some sort of culinary thing which meant she went out for meals with other students. She also used to bake and leave out cakes for others in her halls, and she then set up her own 'tea club' and bought all these obscure teas and had everyone round for cups of tea and feedback on which ones they liked.

What I'm trying to say is - not everyone does things the same way e.g. get off your head on booze and be the life and soul. My DD was just a bit quirky and bonded with likeminded quirky students! I was so worried about her going to Uni but it was the best thing ever she told me. I'm sure your DD, OP, will be the same but it's understandable to worry.

NannyFlower Sun 02-Aug-15 21:20:59

She will be fine! I was very similar to your DD, I did struggle fitting in because uni was full of people who wanted to go out clubbing all the time, not my scene. But I was okay! My biggest mistake was not joining any clubs or teams in first year, all my housemates would go out with club/team friends and I was lonely. Year two I joined some random clubs (cheese and wine club, chess and Rock climbing - which was totally new to me) and that was 100% better.

Mindgone Mon 03-Aug-15 00:06:40

I agree with the part time job idea, or, if that's difficult, volunteering in a charity shop etc.

Chrissy1972 Mon 03-Aug-15 01:34:50

Thank you for each, and every individual response given, Iam so grateful for those that have taken the time to write, give support and advise this desperate mum. I feel so much more optimistic with dd transition to uni.
I will definatley tell dd to keep her doors open at halls thats such a good tip. I really hope dd will have some kind of mentor/buddy, that would be just what she needs, dd opens up more on a one to one basis, and tends only to tell her problems to that one person, she doesn't like talking about her problems amongst groups of friends. DD only joined FB last month, pushed by DH and so far she has not updated or responded, so not making any progress on the social network side. She finds it hard to make conversations unless it's deep and intellectual one, then she's comfortable talking. Otherwise she feels odd and awarkard if it's anything to do with celebrities, fashion and makeup. Which normal average teenagers talk about. Societies and clubs is a must as most have suggested in order for dd to find her own sorts. Which makes alot of sense, thanks everyone for that suggestion. DD finds social settings such as pubs, clubs etc very exhausting whereas extraverts would probably feel more energised in those settings, yet dd feels more energetic and alive when she's alone. It's such a contrast.
I don't think dd is brave enough yet to work with members of the public, (to the person who suggested dd get a job) she's just not that confident, I think she can manage individual tutoring to younger kids. Or a small office job , it would be great leap forward if she could manage a waitressing job. I can only wish for that one.
Aswell as getting through uni I just hope and pray dd will be able to get a job, that she is able to manage her introvertness so that it doesn't hinder her future too much. There don't seems to be much out there for the quite, reserved types.

Potterwolfie Mon 03-Aug-15 01:55:31

If you think she would be open to reading it, or if you're interested, try this book: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain.

It may help her recognize that being quiet and introverted is absolutely fine, even beneficial in many situations...never mind what her teacher said, that attitude about introverts missing out is so narrow minded!

Encourage her to join a club, or two, attend a meeting, hang out in the union, cafeteria or library, try to be open to new experiences and meeting new people and she's bound to meet like minded people. I guess the important thing is for her to be able to recognize her personality type and not be forced into taking part in things which make her uncomfortable or cause her stress. Hope she has a great time at Uni!

senua Mon 03-Aug-15 08:51:18

I really hope dd will have some kind of mentor/buddy, that would be just what she needs

One of the things you learn at University is that you can't wait for the world to come to you. It's up to you to go out there and make things happen.
It's a great skill to learn: the ability to ask for help when you need it.

PUGaLUGS Mon 03-Aug-15 08:57:01

Am sure she will be fine.

DS1 is going to Uni, he is very quiet and an introvert. I will buy him a door wedge but the rest is up to him.

They will manage.

Nolim Mon 03-Aug-15 09:01:59

I am definitelly an introvert and did good at uni. It took time to make friends but they are the. Best friends i have had. Regarding presentations and such it is not about faking being an extrovert, it is about getting a job done.

I say let her figure it out, be there for her but it is her life.

noblegiraffe Mon 03-Aug-15 09:13:46

Tbh her problem isn't introversion, it's perfectly possible to be introverted and work with members of the public, do group work, cope at university etc.

She seems lacking in confidence and social skills. You appear to be enabling her self-imposed isolation by not pushing her to do new things, rather worrying about how she will cope and probably passing that worry onto her.

I'm an introvert, I am also quite shy and don't like talking to people. I had jobs from the age of 12, because my parents cut off my supply of money at at age and told me to earn some. I didn't have a choice to say 'oh I don't feel confident enough to do that' I just had to get on with it.

Your DD will have to get on with it, and the sixth form teacher is right, she needs to push herself more. She will need to get a job at some point and if her CV is completely empty, all her As and A*s won't be that impressive.

University will be fine, there are groups for pretty much every type of person. She needs to find her place, but she also needs to make the effort to join in.

UptheChimney Mon 03-Aug-15 10:07:49

I think you're seeing things in black & white terms, with a bit of a dose of catastrophe thinking added in. Neither your DD nor university is as extreme as you seem to think, so I think you could just let yourself relax!

She is going to have to cope, and -- this is the difficult bit -- you're going to have to let her go.

Group work etc is a vital preparation for the modern professional work place. She's going to have to learn to cope with it. Maybe at university the broader & more challenging intellectual environment will really suit her. She'll find like-minded people, and bullying just about disappears. I speak from my own personal experience here -- even 30 years later, I remember the relief I felt at getting to university that there were other people like me. I wasn't the weird one.

Just breathe, and don't borrow trouble.

UptheChimney Mon 03-Aug-15 10:11:34

Oh, and it was at university that -- because I was mostly fairly confident intellectually (mostly) -- that I decided I needed to grow up and get over my shyness. It took a few years, but I learnt strategies that are now "natural" to me. People who didn't know me in my 20s find it hard to believe me when I say I used to be painfully shy. If I could do it (I was the definition of geeky girl brought up in the country etc etc) then it's possible for most people, I should think!

ladymariner Mon 03-Aug-15 10:16:10

My friends dd was exactly the same, she was really worried about going to uni, even though she really wanted to go, for fear of making friends, she was very quiet and not a party-goer/drinker either. I second everyone who has suggested clubs, societies friends dd joined the choir, the drama club, she plays a musical instrument now....after a wobbly start she is having the time of her life!

ladymariner Mon 03-Aug-15 10:16:58

And definitely yes to a doorstop!

Schoolchauffeur Mon 03-Aug-15 10:29:48

I could almost have written this about my DD a year ago, but at uni she has really found her niche. She was put in a flat at uni with five other girls and found three of those to be quite like her. They braved a few Freshers nights together having established that none of them were big drinkers and she will be sharing a flat with two of them this year. Mostly they socialise at the odd pub quiz, meals out and about once a month they find a band they like or theatre.

She too hated group work at school- mostly because she hated being in groups where there was a lot of Arguing or people not doing the work. Her uni course has involved doing ten group work projects over the two semesters and she said for the most part people joined in and did work together and she overcame her stress about it by trying to take a bit of a lead- there was a lot of use of email and Facebook groups to divide up the work and to be honest a lot of the group were happy for someone who was smart and had some ideas to tell them what to do.

I do think you are muddling being introverted with lack of confidence though. The former is part of a personality make up and will not and does not need to change ( also recommend the Susan Cain book). The latter can be developed with practice and gradual exposure to new situations. DD improved hugely with a part time job. Initially she found the customer interaction tricky, but she was made up to part time supervisor within a year due to her "quiet confidence and ability not to panic".

The best thing you can do for your DD is not show any sign that you are worried about how she will cope- encourage to try new situations, tell her you know she can do it.

Dd said to a relative the other day when asked how she liked uni" it's great- I've finally found the right place and people".

Good luck to your DD!

UptheChimney Mon 03-Aug-15 12:01:47

Re "introversion" - in the Meyer-Briggs classification this is not a synonym for "shy" -- it's to do with how you replenish your psychological energy. Do you gain energy from being with people, or do you need to be solitary for times to recharge?

I tend to think this is also rather black & white thinking, and therefore not entirely helpful. But it is an interesting thing to think about. And more productive than just calling someone "shy" - because you can be quite outgoing, but still need downtime to recharge your spirit.

Chrissy1972 Mon 03-Aug-15 16:52:05

It's such a huge relief to hear mums with dc and individuals that have suceeded in life who are introverted, it's a dose of inspirement I need at this moment. I definately need to learn to let go and stop looking at things in black and white it does more harm than any good. I hate getting those niggling and doubting thoughts. Like I know getting on with people is fundamental to succeed in a job and in life. The very thing dd struggles with. Then the niggles starts.
We've have pushed, talked and tried to get dd to be more sociable and learn to work with groups of people to no avail. Dh managed to get dd a temp job at a large chocolate factory last year, easy line production, eat on the job whilst packing perfect we thought, she lasted 2 weeks, dd was exhausted drained and very un happy not so much with the job but from dealing with the people, it was as though we put her in prison, chucked away the keys. You could see how depressed she was getting with everyday that passed, we kept telling her to give it a chance. What we discovered was shes not motivated by money or eating unlimited chocolates, yet on the otherhand she has no trouble working with like minded people or those that are either very young or the very old. The amount of times I've said to her that you can't pick who you work with in life, she knows oh so well to the point I sound like a broken record.
There's no quick fix I gathered that now, it's going to be a slow process of soul searching and self discovery. I know I should stop thinking of her shortcomings but instead concentrate on trying to make her stronger person. But looks like only she can do that.

Its literally been a life long battle for dd so far, in trying to get on with fellow humans. DD was referred to a child psychologist when she was 8 yrs old by teachers because they thought she may be autistic or have aspergers. She didn't want to play with other kids, liked being alone and was obsessed with numbers, maps, names of bones in the skeleton. After numerous test the diagnosis was that she wasn't autistic or aspergers. It was her personality and that she was just a introvert. I wasn't given much info about introversion, so passed it off as something she will grow out of, after all she was only 8. It wasn't till she went to comp that dd and ourselves noticed the social awkwardness she was encountering, she felt overwhelmed being in large groups, crowds and noise, the bullying started because she was different, she would want to spend time in quiet corners and the library. Other kids percieved her as being a snobby swot and stand offish. Teachers were worried as she never put her hand up so didnt know if she understood, she was getting the grades so she must have.

By the majority of responses Uni is going to be the makings of her. I should stick to that train of thought.
I Googled the Susan Cain book and it sounds perfect for dd! written for people like her try and feel normal, embrace their good points. Susan sounds like the perfect person dd needs as a role model and inspiration. I will definately get it for her to read before she goes to uni she needs empowering, thanks for the suggestion. What I gather so far dd needs to be proactive, to have some sort of strategy/plan of action, join clubs and societies, not be afraid to ask for help, talk about her insecurities, incorporate some alone time after group work or from being in noisy crowed places. I think if she made this kind of plan it will help her not feel overwhemed and stressy with situations she feels uncomfortable with. Hopefully in time she may come to learn to adapt smoothly with the world and not try and shut herself out which she has so far done quite well with at school in order to cope. Sorry for the long post and jumbled up gathered thoughts.

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