Emma Watson says people find it hard to realise she is "just a girl".
The 23-year-old actress shot to fame playing Hermione Granger in the 'Harry Potter' movie series and stunned fellow students into silence on her first day at Brown University in 2009.
She said: "On the first day, I walked into the canteen and everyone went completely silent and turned around to look at me. I had to say to myself, 'It's OK, you can do this'. You just have to take a deep breath and gather your courage.
"I have moments where I will walk into a bar and it will take me making a joke to put people at ease, to realise I am just a girl."
The 'Noah' star - who deferred her studies at Brown after 18 months before going on to study at Oxford University in the UK for a year, returning to the prestigious US establishment last year - admitted paparazzi photographers following her also made it difficult to "integrate" with her fellow students.
She told Sunday Times Style magazine: "After 'Harry Potter', all that mattered was university. I didn't even know if I wanted to be an actress...
"It wasn't always easy to break down barriers, as having men from the British press following me with cameras didn't help my mission to integrate."
Despite being in her 20s, the British beauty is "excited" about the "ageing process" because she thinks it will make her more "compelling".
She said: "I'm excited about the ageing process. I'm more interested in women who aren't perfect. They're more compelling."