Out Of My Shell
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Student Life

Out Of My Shell

How I slowly learned to overcome my shyness and become a leader.

Out Of My Shell
John-Mark Kuznietsov

I was always shy growing up, so much so that I used to refuse to even order my own food at restaurants, let alone talk on the phone or admit I didn't understand something in school. People would often get frustrated with me when I was too shy or anxious to do things they thought were easy, and their solution was often to try to throw me into the situation that made me uncomfortable. Maybe that works for some people, but I found that if I wanted to overcome the things that scared me, I had to push my own boundaries in my own time.

In high school I was involved in a few things, but they were things I was comfortable with and knew I was good at. There were sports I wanted to play and clubs I thought about joining, but I never did because I had no experience with them, and the last thing I wanted was to be laughed at.

At the end of my junior year, when elections for student council officers were about to take place, a couple of my teachers convinced me to run for something. I was nervous, taking the entire last day before entries were due to think about it. In the end I did sign up, and I stood up in front of the entire student body to give a campaign speech, which was the most terrifying part of the whole thing. I won the election, though, and I was proud of myself.

I eased myself into college, only joining clubs if my suite mates were also interested. However, a year away from home and a summer job on my own had helped me in being more independent and outgoing, so my sophomore year I dove in head first, joining several new groups. I was still shy, though, even introducing myself in one club by saying I hadn't joined the year before because I was a “shy, awkward freshman, but now I'm a shy, awkward sophomore.”

At the end of the first semester of my sophomore year, I decided to run for president of my college's Literature Club. I had ideas for the group that I thought would be fun to pursue, and I hadn't felt like I had a voice in the club before, mostly because I was too shy to speak up. I had a desire to make the group something almost everybody could be a part of and enjoy, so I decided that this step out of my comfort zone was necessary, and I managed to win that election as well.

As the club's resident shy-person-turned-president, I mostly let the group talk about what they wanted to do in meetings and for events, occasionally adding my own ideas with awkward enthusiasm. Honestly, it was likely that I had never spoken at a Literature Club meeting until I was asked to tell everyone why I would make a good president. Like so many other things, I tried to ease myself into the presidency, relying heavily on my vice president, our faculty advisor, and members of the club.

Maybe being president of a club that half the college probably hasn't even heard of is no big deal to most people, but I see it as a personal success. When I came home from college after my freshman year, my parents commented on how I was more willing to talk to people and do things on my own. Sometimes I still make them make phone calls for me, but I have come a long way from the girl who would rather starve than order food at a restaurant.

As I move into my junior year, I am still president of Literature Club and very happy that I made the decision to run. I will also be a freshman mentor, leading a new group of students to find their place at this college and in this world. I have learned to keep my eyes open for new opportunities, slowly becoming more comfortable with easing out of my comfort zone.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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