College students are often too shy and may have trouble dealing with anxiety on college campus. Not only are we away from home and familiar surroundings, but we’ve been plunked into a sea of strange faces.
Public speaking and making friends can be difficult. That’s why it’s important to learn how to overcome shyness and speak up in a crowd.
Why it’s important to overcome shyness in college
In “Overcoming Shyness at College,” by Diana Rodriguez, posted on EverydayHealth.com March 17, 2010, clinical psychologist Kaveh Zamanian, Ph.D., of East End Psychological Associates in Louisville, Kentucky compares shyness to being an observer of a game rather than a player: “If you sit on the sidelines, you’re really not getting the full benefit of the college experience. It certainly can affect the social aspect of a person’s life in terms of being able to make connections that could be growth-promoting and that could foster professional and personal developments.”
Here are some ways to get help dealing with anxiety about campus social life:
1. Find a club or group with your interests
One of the first things I did on campus was find a club with my same interests. I joined the film club because I knew it would be easier for me to come out of my shell when I was surrounded by people who had something in common with me. I could easily start a conversation with them because we all had the same frame of reference.
Seems that advice columnist Amy Dickinson agrees: “You should try participating in group activities, because groups offer a little bit of social safety for people who might feel a little shy one-on-one. The chess club, drama club, or a volunteering club for tutoring younger kids will give you opportunities to share a common experience, which will make conversations easier,” she said in “To overcome shyness, join school clubs,” posted October 12, 2005, in Chicago Tribune.
2. Join a club that scares you
After I mastered talking to people I knew I’d like, I tried the opposite. I hated public speaking, yet I joined the debating team on a lark. Talking in front of people had always totally freaked me out. But I was in college now, so I wanted to be confident talking in public, something I was sure I would need during my career, so I thought I might as well start! The other students on the team welcomed me, shared tips and tricks to help me feel confident and laughed and joked with me.
3. Don’t be shy with teachers
Being afraid to talk to other students is one thing, but not talking to your professors is detrimental to your studies. Jessica Peyton Roberts wrote in “4 Ways To Stop Being The Shy Student,” posted on Aim High Writing College Consulting April 10, 2014: “Not speaking with my professors the first year was a major mistake on my part. The majority of instructors want you to succeed. But they can’t possibly know that you’re on top of the coursework if you never offer any feedback, whether in the classroom or during their office hours…. The key is to not go in making excuses. Rather, you are making him aware of the situation and asking for assistance in improving.”
4. Be positive when dating
I was self-conscious in college about dating. I didn’t know who would find me attractive. So I worried about it by not worrying about it. I thought, it’ll happen when it happens. I made a lot of nice gal-friends and guy-friends without commitments so I could just enjoy my college life. But if you want to find romance in college, be positive, be assertive (but not aggressive), be honest, be a good listener and be yourself.
What are some ways you’ve overcome shyness? Tell us in the comments.