The Shyness Project

Archive for the tag “Month 3 Class Participation”

Deja vu- The first day all over again

Usually, there is only one first day of school.

For me, however, there were two.

I am taking classes at two different community colleges. I’m doing this so I can get all the classes I want my first semester instead of only having a few options as a new student.

My first day at one of my colleges was great, but how was the first day at my other college going to go?  The butterflies returned at the prospect of having to go through the first day of school all over again.

Soon enough, the time came and I set foot in my first class of my first day at this college, my Career and Life Planning. I was looking forward to it because I think the subject of career choice is fascinating and I’m hoping this class will help me figure out what I want to do. I’ve already done so much research on my own, but I hope I’ll get something helpful out of this class.

I talked to the girl sitting next to me right away, and she was really friendly. In class, an activity started where we had to go around the room and find someone who fits one category on a space, like someone who loves music, or who had a leadership position in school, or who volunteers. It seemed a little silly to me at the time but I know the teacher was just trying to get us all acquainted with each other. I briefly met a majority of my classmates, and even won a candy bar for being one of the first people to turn in my sheet with all the squares filled out with signatures from each person in the class.  Woot!

Next, I headed for my Intro to Sociology class. When I entered through the doors, I saw that every seat in the class was taken. Every seat. I had no choice but to sit on the floor, so I did. Soon others came in and had to stand or find somewhere to sit on the ground as well. The room was packed with people hoping to add her class. The teacher is supposedly one of the best Sociology teachers this college has ever had, and she’s won teacher of the year awards. I was excited at the prospect of getting to learn from her, and was hoping I’d be able to add.

We all waited a little while, but there was no sign of her. But then, the door crashed open and a tall white haired woman charged forcefully down the aisle to the front of the room, yelling for everyone to put away their cell phones, and ranting that if she ever saw one out again she’d kick the person out of the class. Several people looked offended and astounded, or slightly spooked, and I could tell that some people would drop. She continued to say that she would not tolerate any talking once class begun, and anyone who talked while she was talking would be asked to leave. There are no excuses in her class, nothing can be late, and there are no make ups. Her tests consist only of essay questions, because she doesn’t believe in multiple choice tests. There would only be three tests all year, and 3 research papers.

I had read that she tries to scare people away the first day and comes off as really strict and tough, but that she is actually one of the most caring teachers on campus. Her attempt to scare us didn’t work on me, and I happily added my name to the add list when she said anyone who showed up today and wanted to learn she would teach.  I had emailed her before asking to add, and she had first sent back an automatic message that said she had over 100 people requesting to add and that she wasn’t giving out add codes before class.  I wrote back saying that was a ton of people and clearly shows what a sought out teacher she is, and that I was hoping to add but I’d probably have to try again another semester.  I said I was hoping to take her class because I’d heard she was an excellent teacher and I wanted to learn what Sociology was about.  To my surprise, she wrote back saying it was her last semester, and she said to come to the first class and introduce myself and she was sure that I had a pretty good chance of getting in.

I was a little nervous to approach her after the big scary image she had presented of herself, but felt like since I had said I would introduce myself, that I should. After adding my name to the add list, I said, “Hi my name is Brittany, I emailed you over the summer about adding your class, and I said I would introduce myself, so I wanted to be sure and do that.” I held my hand out and we shook hands and she smiled and touched my arm and said she was really glad I made it to her class and was going to add. She asked if I’d gotten the books already and I said that I had, and I was looking forward to her class. It was a nice friendly exchange and probably made a good first impression on her.

Next I had speech class. I started talking to the lady next to me, Heather. On the first day we were given an assignment to interview the person next to us in class, so we ended up interviewing each other and another woman joined our group too since there was an odd number. Heather’s a mom of three teenagers and I learned some miscellaneous facts about her. The following class we would have to introduce our partner to the class, so I tried to find out some things that I thought would be interesting to share.

All in all the first day of this college went well too, though my previous first day was even better in my opinion. It was a good day though and I was glad to be done with both of my first days!


Ugh, I was trying really hard to raise my hand in psych class tonight, but still I couldn’t do it!!  I had read the chapter in advance, written out all the notes in advance off of her powerpoint notes that she’d be showing tonight, made flash cards, knew the material really well, and even had about 7 possible questions I could ask on the side of my notes, and STILL I didn’t raise my hand!

Why is this class so hard for me to participate in?  Is it because there are more people and a majority of them are older than me?  I guess I do feel a little intimated, I think I’m one of very few high schoolers in the class.  But I got an A on the last test and she said there were only 5 A’s total in the class, so it’s not like I’m not doing well in her class or what I say isn’t going to be intelligent enough.

It’s just when that class gets going, I get in this comfort zone that’s hard to break out of.  It’s easy to hesitate and not act when she pauses.  I’m very envious of the people who can just speak aloud what they want to say or ask questions on a regular basis.  It seems like my questions aren’t really that necessary for me to ask, because I already know the material so well and don’t really need my questions answered since they’ve just been thought up for the sake of asking a question.  And the questions I thought of she often went over so there wasn’t really anything I could say after that.

So maybe I should try not doing my notes, reading, or making the flash cards and see if I can think of more questions when I don’t know the material as well?  I don’t know, this is tricky…I was in the right mind set tonight too, feeling confident and like I could do this.  But I just couldn’t move my arm and ask what I had prepared.  I’m definitely going to keep trying though.

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School Update

Here’s an update on how my week at school has been:

On Monday I didn’t raise my hand for anything despite a few opportunities that I feel like I should have taken. There are some times when I have a harder time getting out of my comfort zone and raising my hand, and this was one of those days.  I did have some other accomplishments though.

I talked to my 4th period teacher about community college when he came by, and I usually don’t say much to him so he thinks I’m especially quiet.  He was passing back my report card and asked if I was going to UC Berkeley or something, and I told him how I was thinking I’d probably go to community college.  We discussed this for a while and I told him how I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do yet career-wise and it seemed like a smarter choice for me.  He went to community college too and thinks it’s a really good way to go.  He told me about some of his past students who went to community college and what not, and we talked for a good while.

In 6th period my teacher was talking to the guy next to me about college sports and he mentioned intramurals.  After listening for a while and having nothing else to do really because I was already done with the assignment, I turned to face them both and asked about intramurals.  From there on I was in on the conversations, though I only added something every once in a while and mostly listened. I didn’t want to invade their conversation which was why it took me a while to finally chime in, but of course it was fine and I was welcomed to add to the conversation.

On Tuesday I raised my hand first period by asking a question about a project.  I was nervous and my heart was beating fast again, but I just told myself that this was just life flowing through me.  I tried to take a deep breath, and then raised my hand.  It cleared up my question, and I felt good that I asked and it was in front of the class.

On Wednesday(today) I raised my hand second period when my teacher asked for improvements to make on a website selling cars.  I said the site needed to have a phone number on the contact page, and needed some sort of color scheme.  There were a lot of opportunities to raise my hand 6th period today, but for some reason I was back in one of those moods again where I just felt like sticking to myself.

So at least I now know that it is possible for me to raise my hand if I put my mind to it, even if I can’t always do it every time I feel like I should.  I still get the racing heart and nervous feeling, but it seems like it’s gotten better.  At least I haven’t started shaking since the very first time!  🙂

Raising Hand in Class Fear and Shyness

I’ve never been one to actively participate in class.  I’ve always done all my work, but I’ve done it quietly and mostly keep to myself.  When the teacher asks a question, I hesitate to respond and feel uncomfortable even thinking about the possibility of being picked to answer or to raise my hand.

I knew it was bad, but these past few days when I’ve been attempting to raise my hand surprised me with how difficult it was for me to do it.  It was so hard that I couldn’t even bring myself to do it when I planned on doing it.

When the question was asked or there was time for comments, I thought carefully about what I could say in my head. But just the mere thought of answering the question and raising my hand made my sympathetic nervous system go out of control.  My heart started pounding, my arm went limp, and my hands felt a little sweaty.  I also had a lot of negative thoughts in my head that were urging me to keep my hand down, so I felt like I was frozen.

In my psych class last week I thought of questions I could ask in advance since I had already read the week’s reading.  But when the time came when I could ask questions, I found that I couldn’t bring myself to ask them before someone else said something that changed the topic or she moved on to the next subject.  I was actually going to answer the very first question she asked, but I only got to awkwardly raising my hand half way before someone else just yelled out the answer and she moved on.

And in Lit class, there was a question I could have easily answered but when he asked the question and the room got silent, I couldn’t raise my hand and break the silence.  But I guess maybe my teacher could tell that I was trying to answer because I kept eye contact with him, and he said my name.  I answered with ease then just fine when I had been called on, but for some reason answering without being specifically called on is a lot harder for me.

So March will be about participating in class.  I’m not sure how I’m going to do it or what my specific goal will be yet, but I’m going to do it.  Maybe if I just don’t think about what I’m doing like I did when I made phone calls to reconnect with friends it’ll be easier?  I’ll find out I guess.  If anyone has ever had a similar fear to mine or has any tips on how you overcame your fear, I’d love to hear from you.  And if you just want to make comments in general, I’d be happy to hear them.

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