For as long as I can remember I have been a shy and timid person. It doesnt matter who Im around (friends, family, or strangers) I usually dont open up. This has been a personality trait that I have had to work and live with ever since I was little.
To begin with when I was in kindergarten I remember playing with this kitchen set at school all the time. The only problem, I didnt have anyone to play with. The one friend I had was in another class. I would spend my time by myself (lunch time, class time) hoping that someone would want to play.
hands on a window pain
watching some children laugh and play
theyre running in circles
with candy canes and French braids
The only time I spent with other kids, in kindergarten, was at recess with a little boy. We would play all the time on the swings or the jungle gym. Recess is what most kids will tell you that they love the most about school, but my reason for loving recess was a lot different. I loved recess because I was able to interact with another kid. But the little boy and I eventually went our separate ways and I was back to where I started from. I had to try to find a different friend to spend time with. I eventually found that person and stayed friends with them until about 4th grade or so, but the same thing happened again.
does anybody even notice
does anybody even care
Well they did care (thankfully). When I had parent teacher conferences in elementary school my teachers would always point out how quiet and shy I was. They would tell my parents that I needed to work on asking questions in class and participating. Their advice would stick in my mind for about two weeks after the conference, but after that I went back to my old ways. It probably sounds like I was a really lonely person in school, but I really wasnt. I had friends that I would talk to, but when it came to participating in things like class discussions or other things like it I would hold back. I am also the kind of person that doesnt mind being by themselves. A loner you could say.
This was what I would do year after year in elementary school and through the first years of middle school. (Especially middle school. I was at a new school with everyone in the area and I didnt know anyone). Until 9th grade. My advisor in 9th grade gave me this advice at a parent teacher conference:
smile at people
say HI to a least two people
every day, not just today or tomorrow
or the day after that, EVERDAY!
What he said persuaded me to start to open up to people. I started to participate in class (very little compared to most people, but this was a big step for me). I also made new and more friends in 9th grade. I was able to open up to these people and make myself feel like I was actually accomplishing what my advisor had told me. Even though I felt like I accomplished what he had told me, I still knew in the back of my mind, I was still the shy and quiet kindergartner from my past.
During my year as a 9th grader my friendships started to grow into something that I had never had before. I was able to communicate without hesitation to these people. I wasnt able to do that with my previous friends. In elementary school I think that my friends were there for recreation purposes (recess and having fun). Now that I was older my friends turned into something different. They were my confidants. I could tell them what was bothering me, how I felt about something or I could just talk to them and I could have fun with them.
a good friend is one who knows where youve been
accepts you for what you are
and encourages you to grow
When I moved to high school the friends I had made in the end of middle school became my best friends. We did a lot of things together. (So this is what I was missing out on all those years). We would spend a lot of time together on the weekends. I could let go of most of my reservations when I was around them and I wouldnt be judged by what I did. I realized that I could have fun and not worry about what they thought about me. (They didnt care about such things as your appearance and how cool your clothes were). They were and are true friends.
The largest step I took to get past my shyness was applying for the Career Mentor Connection program my junior year. This program was for the elite students that were in as many extracurricular activities as possible. (Definitely not me!) So I went for it. This was something I wanted to do. I wanted to be able to experience first hand what it was like in a Veterinary Clinic. (The program allowed us to do a mentorship in a career field of our choice). When I completed the application and turned it in the director of the program, a person I new from my church, she told me that if I was going to make it into the program I need to pull out all the stops during the interview otherwise I wouldnt get in.
dont look back
and make an impact
I had my doubts, believe me sitting in a group interview with some of the most popular and intelligent people in your class is very intimidating, even if you arent very shy. Luckily I made it through the interview without any mental scars, and I made it into the program. I know that the first day I went to the class the next year the others were thinking How did she get into this program? They werent thinking this because they thought they were better, but more from the side of being surprised that this quiet, timid girl, they barely new about, would become part of a program that demanded an outgoing personality.
what I am is good enough
if I would only be it openly
Being part of this program really helped me get past being shy. It made me do things that I wasnt comfortable doing before. For example giving speeches on things I learned at the Vet clinic, or meeting and interviewing people in the profession. (I had never been this outgoing). But I made it through and I grew professionally because of it.
Throughout my time in senior high I became less and less concerned about being quiet and worrying what people thought of things I said. I think that is why for all those years I was shy. I was always concerned that if I said something in class I would be ridiculed or teased for it. (Whatever gave me that idea I dont know.) I think that worrying about what people think of your opinions is some kind of paranoia that some people have and some dont.
no one can make you feel inferior
without your consent
I finally made the decision for myself that I needed to get past the paranoia of what people might think or say about me. I put myself in the mind set: I shouldnt worry about what other people think of my opinions and if they tease me its probably because they were jealous they didnt think of it first or some other petty reason. I did get past being teased by people and let it roll off my back. (Its the only thing I could and the smartest thing I could do).
Now that I have come to college and I am in a whole new environment Im experiencing some of the same things from my past. The first few weeks of school I really didnt know anyone except for one of my friends from high school that came to NDSU. When my roommate and I met we found out that we were totally opposite people and we rarely ever talk to each other (thankfully she isnt here most of the time otherwise we both would be miserable.) Even though I dont get along with my roommate I was still able to meet new people. My suitemates, for one, are very nice and I have a good relationship with them, and I can do things with them like I could with my friends from high school. I have also met people in some of my classes that I have good relationships with.
Even though I reverted to some of my old ways when I got to college I think I have made drastic improvements from other changes I have gone through in the past. Adapting to middle school was a lot harder than adapting to college. Im in a brand new place here and no one knows who I am and whether or not Im shy or outgoing, so I can be the person I really want to be (or at least try).
Over the years and all these experiences from my past I have realized that being shy is a big part of my personality and that I have to work to get past that. For the past four years I have been improving on this personality trait. I have done things that were way out of my comfort zone. This is something I have to do to get past my fears. I think that I will eventually become a lot more at ease with situations that are uncomfortable. Like meeting new people and applying for jobs or vet school.
face the thing you fear
and you do away with that fear
At the same time I have to accept that being an introverted person is part of my personality. I also have to realize that overcoming the fears that go along with being shy and quiet will help me out in the future. If I can get past those fears I think that being shy and introverted wont be such a big problem (or a least one I can deal with). After all it is part of my personality and who I am and I shouldnt try to get rid of it completely but try to improve it or use it to my benefit.
you never find yourself
until you face the truth