The Life of an Introvert: Surviving the holidays. Sort of

(Graphic by Adele Palmquist).

It’s that time of year, Laurier!

I return with a much overdue entry in hopes that what I write may lighten the heavy feeling of mid-terms passed, the unfortunate abundance of papers and the terror of finals to come with my most memorable moments.

First, I want to address Halloween because I didn’t have an entry on that (shameful, I know). Mine was spent watching some movies I have never seen before—Interview with the Vampire — Tom Cruise as a blond?! Though more casual I still insisted on wearing a costume. I really wanted to dress up my last year. One night I was Sloan from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Bueller? Bueller? On movie night I was Cat Woman. Pretty good considering it was last minute!

My first year, I dressed up as Gilligan from Gilligan’s Island. A joke, considering that became my nickname because there was another Jillian on my floor. Being named “Gillian” and also being a pretty extreme introvert is clearly a fantastic combination that sets you up for a lot of…interesting moments. I was so quiet that I guess some of the girls left me behind that night, so I stayed back with a couple girls and I decided to just take off my costume. We decided we might as well get coffee. Anyone who didn’t dress up on Halloween probably realized the mistake of going outside. I dislike extra attention — this did not help.

We were harassed from our residence to Starbuck’s and then realized we still had to return to residence. I wanted to cry. However, I actually ended up speaking up when some guy kept bugging me. My only response was: “Why would I wear a costume just to go to Starbucks?” He nodded and said, “Yeah, true.” That was apparently the most my floor-mates had ever heard me speak. Even I was a little surprised! Though, all I wanted to do was to crawl into a hole and not be the centre of attention.

We spent the night in the lounge watching t.v. Also, make sure you have blinds or curtains closed. Unfortunately, we had neither and a Ghostbuster kept knocking on our window, asking to be let in. Don’t let in random people.

Well, regardless of what you did Halloween I hope you had a less traumatic night!

For the holidays that approach:

First years, you have come a long way and are probably now getting comfortable with the new friends, a schedule (or in my case, the mastery of procrastination) and maybe now you have bravely entered a new on campus club, job or something to keep you busy. I didn’t join any clubs in my first year and I’m not saying you have to. In first year, get a feel for the new lifestyle and be adventurous when you feel it’s your time.

In residence, I gave all 14 girls on my floor (the basement of Conrad is incredibly small — DB love!) Christmas cards with two little candy canes taped on the front in the shape of hearts. I was close with a couple of the girls already, and although I was still a little nervous socially with some of the girls I wanted to at least show everyone that I appreciated all of them. I was lucky to have a great group of girls and I think even if you have differences, especially for me as I found I was probably the quietest out of the bunch — everyone really can get along. At this point too it was nice that many understood that being quiet was just who I am.

Sometimes people may not understand you, but I think what really matters most, is that you are comfortable with yourself. I was still a little insecure, but when starting university (and still today) my goal has to always been to try and put myself out there. I knew I wanted to join a club or volunteer at some point. I wanted to try going to the gym though I am painfully out of shape (those stairs in the Peters Building and by the Turret are a constant reminder) and I did — though I have yet to return. Regardless, I think the best thing I ever did was to set little goals for myself. The feeling of achieving them is even greater. So, you don’t end up going to the gym anymore because it may not be your thing — at least you tried!

In residence, my floor was also lucky to have a really great don. For Christmas, I forget exactly if it was a contest between the floors or if we just decided to do it for fun (apparently after the age of 20 your memory begins to fail you) — but we decorated a gingerbread house. This was a great activity to do and I think for those in residence, you should mention it to your don and floor as a fun way to get everyone together. Maybe for those who have a much larger group than my DB ladies, I would suggest maybe spliting into two teams and maybe seeing who has the nicer gingerbread house. Or, no contest at all and just enjoy having an extra gingerbread house to eat!

Our lovely gingerbread house was left in our lounge during the Christmas break, only to find it gone when we returned. No, our don did not eat it. Apparently when we all went home for exams our don, like most, was required to stay behind a little longer. One night she thought she heard something down the hall in the lounge so she decided to check it out, a little worried considering she knew all of us were home. She cautiously made her way to the lounge only to see our lounge window (which didn’t have a screen on it — we every now and then use to open it for each other, so we could just climb through instead of having to use the door…yes, bad ass) was wide open and a group of people, around four, I think, were eating our gingerbread house! When she asked what they were doing or how they got in they told her they got in through the door in the room. Yeah, there was no door from outside into the lounge, just our screen-less windows. They quickly ran past her and escaped. Yep. This actually happened. So make sure to lock doors and windows and maybe eat that gingerbread house before someone else does.

That story just happens to be one of my favourites to retell.

For my fellow Laurier students who are maybe in fourth year, like me — or you return as second or third year, I would suggest getting in touch with either old friends or floor mates. Because I made two new friends in my first year, we still try and visit and keep in touch. If my one friend hadn’t insisted on being friends the first day (seriously, she said we should be friends) and her also being the one to introduce ourselves to my roommate made it so much easier for me. Everyone knew I was quiet, but it had been a long time since someone had gone really out of their way to be my friend and to be patient enough. Patient in that I take time to get use to people.  Most of my friends are either extroverts or somewhat introverted, but still a little more out there than myself. I also have great friends from home who have stuck with me through similar situations.

There will be time when we are all busy, but why not show your friends some appreciation? The holidays are a great way to plan reunions — maybe get together for a night out or a day in with holiday movies.

Also, a great time to see the family; I know we will be watching A Muppet’s Christmas Carol! 

Regardless of what crazy things happen to you during the holidays, I hope the awkwardness of my present and past life from the perspective of an introvert makes the current stresses of school a little more bearable!

I think I really survived the holidays because I had some incredible people around me. Though I clearly love some time to myself, the holidays are always a time where I like to spend it with those close to me. I think that is the best advice I can give you is to spend it with those you love (I know, I’m cheesy).

I also suggest you make sure you know your exam schedule — there is nothing more awkward than walking in late because you thought your exam began a half hour later.

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