How To Excel In School As An Introvert: Part Two
Now that you have read my post about recognizing and appreciating your introverted personality, it is time to step out of your comfort zone and show your great personality to the world. I know that this is the hardest part, since it requires to push your extraverted self while staying true to the more silent side of your personality. Therefore: Start with baby steps, but do them consistently! The following tips will surely help along the journey to academic success as an introvert.
Practice the “skill” of extraversion
While it seems daunting at first, extraversion can be practiced. I, for instance, committed myself to speak up in every lecture, presentation, group work, or meeting at least once. Not five times, not ten times, just once. If I feel comfortable enough, the rest would come along. The easiest way to do this is to ask a question. People will notice that you have listened to the material, understood their reasoning, and can critically assess the presented ideas. That’s good! And it is so much better than just leaving the room without having said anything. No one requires you to talk all the time if that just does not fit your personality – leave that to others who are comfortable with that. But listen actively and ask questions where others already did not pay attention anymore.
A second tip, which is especially good to incorporate at social events, is to go with a friend who is a bit more extroverted than you and can act as ice breaker. He or she may start the conversation and after the first one or two minutes, commit yourself to actively engage in the conversation. At the beginning, it pays off to just observe how more extroverted people behave in these situations. Make a mental list of options to use at different parts of the conversation. What is a good beginning? Which are thing in life that excite me and I can talk about in an enthusiastic way? What are good questions to ask? How can I close the conversation? Preparing these elements gives you a rich toolbox to choose from when being confronted with situations that require you to “put yourself out there”.
Fake it ‘till you make it
Picture your extroverted self: What do I wear? How is my body language? And, for girls, what type of make-up and accessories do I wear? Pick an outfit that resembles this mental image. It will serve as uniform of your extroverted self. I, for example, always wear heels to events that require my more extroverted self: They require me to stand upright, walk energetically, and “put me at eyes level”, especially when talking to male students or professional contacts. Although you might not feel 100% comfortable, your outward appearance will help you look and act more comfortably. Why else do superheroes wear such impressive costumes? Superman probably wouldn’t have saved the world in jogging pants.
Stay true to yourself
Despite practicing to become more extroverted in several situations, you should not try to alter your entire personality. You will never be truly successful if you constantly act against your natural tendency to behave. Thus, the same way you selected occasions to practice extraversion, make time to pamper your introverted self. For instance, after a straining day of recruiting, take the evening off. Do things that recharge you, such as reading a book, journaling, cooking, or doing sports. Also, take some time to review your practice sessions of extraversion and note down the small successes you made. Actively appreciating yourself for your progress will make you feel more self-conscious at the next event.
I promise you, with this balanced strategy, you will notice that you soon begin to like your extroverted self. You will have fun putting on your superhero uniform. Embrace the small changes – and after some time, you will rock school in your own more silent tone. And if you have further tips for exceling in school as introvert, please let me know in the comment section! We at Rakbo are happy to hear from you.