My Journey as an Introvert at CMC

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Like most adventures, my story begins with a discovery about myself. There exist discoveries like "You're a wizard, Harry" or "Aang, you are the avatar." My self-discovery, however, did not require a half-giant wizard, or a bunch of nomadic monks.

It was as simple as realizing that sometimes, I need some "me time" for me to identify myself as an introvert.

So why did it take me almost nineteen years to have this epiphany? For one, it is the misconceptions about being an introvert. I, like most people, considered introverted people to be shy. In fact, the first definition that comes up for an introvert on Google is "a shy, reticent person." I consider myself fairly outgoing, so I was quick to brush aside the label. But the psychological definition of an introvert is someone who is "drained by social encounters and energized by solitary pursuits." This definition is much easier to identify with, but I never realized it applied to me until I came to CMC.

While I was growing up, my parents never let me out on school nights, which is why it took me so long to recognize my introvertedness. Given the limited control I had over my socialization [I was only allowed to hang out with friends on the weekends], I only realized how exhausting it could be when I came to CMC. I spent my first semester of college at McGill. For those unfamiliar with McGill, the university is sprawled across the city of Montreal. Most of my friends' dorms were a subway ride away, and I was taking six classes [two of them were labs]. Since I was taking six classes, I had very little free time to explore Montreal, go clubbing on the weekends, and socialize on Tuesdays.

I transferred to CMC feeling incredibly unprepared for the hyper-social environment and found myself more mentally drained than before. At first, I thought it was due to the stress of transferring and being in an unfamiliar place. I realized that was not the case when even after the first month or so of settling in, I still found myself exhausted.

I started to realize the problem when I was studying at the Hub. I like to study with white noise around me, which makes public places and coffee shops ideal study spots for me.

The problem with the Hub, however, is that you always see people you know. It was a lot different from the Tim Horton's I would study at when I was a McGill student. There, I would rarely see people I know. But at the Hub, it was the opposite - I started to realize I was regularly seeing friends and acquaintances, whether I was studying or walking to class. Unlike Montreal, in Claremont, you can't lose yourself in the big city and pop your head out when you want to socialize. Here, socializing was inevitable--planned or not.

I strongly feel that people at CMC are extroverted. While there could be many reasons why, I hypothesize that it is because CMC is a pre-professional school that emphasizes networking, it both attracts and produces extroverts. While not all introverts are shy, it may take more effort for an introvert to reach out to a total stranger than an extrovert.

While extroverts make up a large part of the CMC community, I do not stand as the lone introvert. In my short time here, I have met quite a few people with similar sentiments on being introverted at CMC and have found ways to invest in "me time." One of my friends, who is also introspective, says that she gets to recharge by studying in her room. Another one of my shy friends makes weekend trips to the village by herself (but she said going to the village is tricky because you are likely to run into someone from the 5C's). So, you have to find some reasonably remote study spots.

My journey as an introvert has just begun. I am still experimenting to find the ideal balance between socializing and "me time." In any journey, the first step is discovering a truth about yourself, and continuing to explore it. I am ready to explore my truth as an introvert.

Photo Source: eBaum's World