Like any other Thursday morning, halfway through my public speaking workshop, I spin my plastic chair around to check the clock behind me. Today I'm supposed to give a speech to a group of twenty people; only nine showed up, so I feel like I'm getting off easy. As I step behind the podium, my messy notecard shakes in my hand -- maybe it's nerves, or maybe it's just caffeine. I smile, introduce myself, and spew academic buzzwords for one hundred eighty seconds, all the while wondering why on earth I, the most introverted person I know, decided to major in communications.
I decide to skip my least favorite class in favor of attending a discussion panel by journalists from South Korea -- three real, established reporters with over a decade each of experience. As they begin a discussion on the state of the media industry and upholding truth and integrity, a familiar feeling starts to swell up in my chest. It's the same feeling that's starting to keep me up at night -- the passion and the excitement for my future. It's the feeling that reminds me of why I chose this field.
Later, I walk to my favorite coffee shop to study and clear my head, praying that there's a secluded booth waiting for me. At this point in the day, I've nearly maxed out my socialization threshold. I need to recharge. I feel drained after playing extrovert. Wait, why am I majoring in communications?
While waiting for my cappuccino, resisting an impulsive urge to email my advisor about changing my major, I Google "communications major careers." Public relations jobs top the list, along with event planning, human resources, and social media management. Comparing myself to the confident, social personalities I associate with these jobs, I start to worry that I can't possibly compete. Right?
Wrong. Catherine Fisher, an introvert and a member of the LinkedIn communications team, wrote in a PR Daily article, "It's my job to tell stories, deliver the message, and help connect the dots for people. It's not my job to be the life of the party."
This shift in mindset changes everything. I'm not a bubbly, talkative, extroverted person, and I don't have to be. I can tell stories without being this person. I can deliver messages without being this person. I can use my skills and creativity to communicate without being this person.
Although majoring in communications, complete with large amounts of public speaking and social events, is challenging for an introvert, an introvert is no less capable than an extrovert of succeeding in this field. Working in the field does not equate to being "the life of the party." Working in the field means using skills in writing, presenting, and more to effectively communicate messages to a variety of audiences -- something that both introverts and extroverts can succeed at.
From my cozy corner booth, I start to prepare my interview questions for my next newspaper article, a piece on a local band. Interviewing is always the scariest part of the process, but no feeling can compare to the reward of publishing an article that I poured energy and creativity into start to finish -- from pitching to interviewing to writing to photographing. Because of the independence and creative freedom allowed by this field, I don't have to neglect my introverted personality to work in communications. I'm an introvert, and I'm a Communications major. I've learned that I can be both.
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