So a bit of backstory real quick.
Back in school I was really shy and pretty socially awkward but mostly with people I didn't know really well or wasn't friends with them. Among friends, I was really comfortable. After high school and cutting some toxic people out of my life completely, I have changed a lot. I'm a lot more extroverted in general, I feel really good talking with all sorts of people I don't know and I believe I can handle almost any situation perfectly well, expect breaking in to established groups where I don't know anyone. If I know just one person all is fine, everything come naturally. But when this person is missing , I feel lost and kinda I'm being reminded of myself in the past, which feels kinda horrible.
Fast-forward to today, since 3 months ago more or less, I started working at a university laboratory as a intern and being evaluated for starting a doctorate. The whole situation came out of the blue and I feel really lucky for this chance but I also feel like I don't really deserve it, for no particular reason. In addition while I was "accepted" for my doctorate I can't start this year because of a single class I still haven't finished, in my undergraduate studies. While I still work here , I just haven't officially started my doctorate. All this leads us to a weird position.
From the first day I felt uncomfortable, cause working at an environment like that was really novel to me .And while most people are young (late 20s , I'm the youngest at 22 ) I wasn't sure how to approach them. I talk with everyone but I feel still fell a bit awkward and distant from everyone. While the vast majority seems like cool people, they have all been working together for a while and I feel a lot like an outsider. In addition , I feel like I'm being given a lot of leeway and a lot of second chances especially considering I didn't manage to finish my bachelor on time and have to wait until next year to start officially. Also two other people who started at the same time as me seem to have integrated much better than me.All of this has caused me a lot of anxiety and made me much more timid and shy , like I used to be in the past, at least at work. At other situations I'm still the same outgoing self, and I'm happy about that.
In particular one day when we all went out to eat and I volunteered to drive. While driving I was much more cheerfull and talkative, than when I was at the lab ,which lead to another co worker (f/28) saying something to the lines of ,
"See even Mikailo , is more outgoing during summer " and I replied.
"Yeah , I am much more tense and shy at the lab than my usual self" to which she said.
"Yeah, It's just you seem very antisocial and you don't look like you enjoy talking to people." , which took me by surprise and felt it was really harsh and unwarranted especially considering the tone. I realize I haven't given the warmest of intention but I felt this went too far and it really made me feel horrible.
At the same time we picked another coworker I met for the first time, friend of hers, who even before leaving the parking area was whispering to her comments about my driving , considering I've heard nothing but praise for my driving , I hardly think it was that bad , it warranted rude criticism , even before leaving the parking area.
Besides the event itself, all this situation made me wonder , if this is how they all see me, and the situation is that bad.
What I really want to ask, are my feelings of "isolation" at work normal and will they go away with time or is my current predicament my "fault" and I should look at fixing my behavior. Also how should I have handled the situation in the car and my further relationship with that person.
Also, I'm interested and I want to be friends with people here, I just don't think I doing a great job.