As I have mentioned before, I am incredibly introverted. This obviously does not work well when it comes to places like school and various groups and activities. All throughout high school, I found it hard to approach teachers, peers, and sometimes even friends
First of all, since my school is not a university, it has small class sizes. Last semester, I had a class with six people. This means that unlike high school, we had to participate and teachers knew when you were gone. This forced me to get used to talking in class as well as getting called on to answer things. Initially, I was incredibly terrified of this because all throughout high school, any debates or big group discussions we had, I managed to avoid talking completely but act engaged and I got (almost) all the participation points. In small classes, you can’t fake it. Basically, I had to learn the material well and be ready to participate. over time, it got easier and now I really enjoy talking in groups.
In addition, I took a class this semester that focused on service within your hometown. You work on a project all semester that forces you to engage with your home community and potential leaders of your community. Obviously, this was really difficult for me. The first email I wrote, it took me 15 minutes just to hit “send” because I was so afraid of their response. However, when I got a positive response, it was really empowering and it made me feel a lot better. Throughout these past few months, we have done a couple of presentations in class and I have talked to community members with increasing confidence.
Lastly, there are a lot of things that I needed help with during my transition into college, so I had to find resources and feel confident enough to use them. Simply talking to someone in the financial aid office or going to the writing center for help on a paper helped me become more confident in myself. Now, I feel okay when I need to ask questions or talk to professors or peers because I have had a lot of opportunities to do so. Plus, because my parents aren’t here to do it for me, I am forced to ask questions if I want to get any information.
Obviously, one year hasn’t got rid of my introverted personality completely. I still sometimes find it difficult to talk to people and I still hesitate before hitting send on emails. Plus, it could also be contributed to growing up in general, but I think it would have been nice to retain some of these skills in high school so that the transition to college would be a little easier. All that being said, I still learned a lot in high school and appreciated those three years! Go Panthers!