As I’ve talked about in previous articles, maybe too much, I was incredibly shy growing up. I hated it, and constantly tried to be more outgoing. It never worked. Until recently.

I am in my junior year of college, and I have noticed that since I started college I have really blossomed. I have started talking more, even to strangers. I have started doing things I never would’ve done in high school. I have also started making more friends, especially people I would’ve never thought of being friends with in the past.

I can even talk to cute boys now! When I was younger, I was nervous and awkward when I interacted with them. But now, I am just nervous. Not awkward at all. (Okay, maybe that is a stretch, but I am improving.)

The reason for my writing this article is because coming out of your shell feels amazing. I feel like a whole new person, and I don’t even think the friends I have now would recognize the girl I used to be. I think this is mostly a lesson in confidence. When I was younger, I cared a whole lot about what people thought of me. I was worried about whether or not people were looking at me in the hallway, if they thought my outfit was weird, or if I had anything in my teeth. I worried about what I said before I said, and was scared that people would think I was stupid if I said anything weird.

The truth is, I don’t worry about anything like that anymore. I used to try to be liked by everyone, but now I know that in order to make an impact on this world and the people around me, not everyone is going to like me. I still try to be kind as possible, but I also am sticking up for myself and what I believe in. I do not let people push me around the way I used to, and I follow my heart in everything I do.

I am writing this for the “shy” young girl who desperately wishes to be heard and to be noticed. I am writing this to tell you that you can be whatever you want to be in this world. If you want to be more outgoing, you are the only person who can do it for yourself. You have a whole life ahead of you, and it is up to you to make it what you want it to be.

So go, I implore you to come out of your shell! Talk to people everywhere you go and let people talk to you as well.

I am no longer scared of people knocking down my walls and learning about who I am. I am proud of myself as a person, and I want people to know. I am evolving and changing, and you can too!