It's that time of year again.
Traffic becomes 500 times worse. People drive against one-way roads. Students flood campus as they begin to move into their new apartments and dorms. It takes ages to drive down 10th Street. The lines to check out at Kroger take 30 minutes.
It's a social hub unlike any other.
After enjoying the peace and quiet of summer in Bloomington, it’s a shock to be surrounded by tons of people all of a sudden. Especially once classes actually start.
I consider myself to be an ambivert. I used to be a mega introvert. In high school, I embraced my extroverted side. When college came around, I learned to balance between trying to meet as many people as possible with my shy nature. Summer gave me a break from the constant crowds and the expectation I give myself to please as many people as possible.
Yet my shy self takes center stage as I begin my sophomore year. Being around so many people again overwhelms me and makes me want to stay in my room. While I'm happy to reconnect with my friends again, there comes the added pressure of meeting even more new people. And coexisting with a whole new class of freshmen.
Seeing all these people again reminds me of how huge IU is. Unless you have classes in the same building or have a similar major, you don’t see people more than once. You'll probably never see the guy with the faded white backpack walking up the stairs to Ballantine ever again. Or the girl holding a pink umbrella.
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Being surrounded by massive crowds of students discourages me from socializing. It makes me think everyone already has their set group of friends and unless you’re super special, you don’t get to be a part of their circle. Of course, this isn’t always the case, but my brain has been wired to overthink.
It's during these moments of transition I need to remind myself to take a deep breath. I tell myself that it’s okay and normal to feel shy. I don’t need to be talkative and happy all the time in order to make friends. I'm allowed to be myself.
Even if I've been through this all before at the beginning of my freshman year, it doesn’t mean I'm not allowed to feel overwhelmed all over again. Take the time to feel overwhelmed. Don't fight the feeling of being shy – embrace it. Don't worry about missing out on parties or football games.
If you need it, take a break from people. Stay in your room.
Take all the time you need. It'll be worth it. I promise.
Isabella Vesperini (she/her) is a sophomore majoring in journalism and minoring in Italian.