How To Stand Out In Class If You Are Shy
I used to be painfully shy when I was a teenager. I was awkward and dreaded making small talks with my classmates. As bad as small talks have made me feel, speaking out in class and participating in discussions were much worse. I would try to make myself smaller and crouch down in my attempt to get unnoticed by the teacher in front. On the few times I got called up to answer something, I turned into a blubbering idiot who could not get the words out of her mouth. I’d get fidgety, and my hands would get sweaty from all the nervous energy I emit.
College signaled a complete turn around for me, personality-wise. I worked on my confidence before I started my freshman year and vowed to leave my skittish persona behind. I didn’t change overnight, but little-by-little I worked on being more active in class. I fought through my fears by diving into it head on. I asked questions if there were things that were unclear to me and raised my hand and put my two-cents in, during mini debates in class. Now I’m proud to say that increasing my visibility in class helped a lot with my grades. Exams and papers, after all, aren’t just the sole basis for your grades. Things like class participation, projects and reports also count in their computation.
If you are struggling with shyness in class, don’t despair! I am a proof that you can overcome this road block to become a much better student and member of your class.
Here are some tips to help you overcome your shyness in class:
Befriend your classmates
As a former shy girl, I know this seems easier said than done but in order to put yourself in a comfortable state in the classroom you need to get to know the people you’ll be sharing it with. Try to get to know them and see them for who they are: fellow students just like you. You may not know it but they might be feeling shy about starting a new class too. Start out with the person sitting next to you in class. Strike up a conversation with them and find something common between you two.
Treat your professor as your equal
This doesn’t mean that you should go up to him and make jokes like you would with your closest friends. What I meant is, give your professor your utmost respect (mind your manners, say “please”, “thank you”, “sir/ma’am”) but also recognize that they are also human beings that you shouldn’t fear and feel intimated with. I was blessed to have some pretty awesome professors in college; people who have achieved so much in their respective fields and have contributed so much for academia. I admired them for their achievements but I didn’t let their accomplishments intimidate me and distract me from learning.
Approach your professors after hours for questions and clarifications
You might still be feeling a bit shy at this point and that is okay. If you’re still not up for speaking out in class, you may want to approach your professor after class or schedule an appointment with him/her at their office. Talk about how you are feeling a bit shy in class and that you would prefer to ask questions outside class hours. Most professors will understand and will gladly extend a helping hand for you.
Leave your seat in the back row
If you’re feeling a lot braver at this point then go the extra step and leave your seat at the back of the class. Gather up the courage to leave the safety of the back to help you work on your shyness. You may feel a lot more exposed in the middle and if you choose to sit in the front, but doing so will also help you get rid of any shy feelings that are still lingering in you.
Continue working on your confidence until you are comfortable participating in class. Once you have gotten rid of all your fears and apprehension, you’d realize how there really is nothing to worry about participating in class. So raise your hand, speak up and share your thoughts to the class for you will be rewarded for it at the end.
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