The Shyness Project

Archive for the tag “quietness”

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!

Walking and Talking with Annie

Last Saturday afternoon I hung out with my good friend, Annie.  We spent most of the day walking downtown and talking for hours.  I was opening up to her about one of my experiences from last year that I hadn’t really told anyone else about other than my friend who had been there with me during that time.  I was so fixed in telling my story that I didn’t even notice where I was walking.  I was surprised that I was able to talk about it so openly, when last year I couldn’t have brought myself to discuss it.

I’ve felt really close to her lately and have been daringly open with her about a lot of my opinions and various things.  She in turn has opened up to me about a lot of things that I didn’t know about.  We’re very different personality wise- she’s very extroverted and bubbly, while I’m introverted and reserved.  But we share a lot of the same views and get along wonderfully.

I’m really glad that we’ve gotten so much closer.  At one time we could be confiding in each other and revealing our deepest thoughts, and the next we could be laughing so hard that we can’t breathe.  She’s a really unique person, and I’m really lucky to have her as a friend.

Berkeley and Friends

This morning I went to Berkeley with a few friends.  One of the friends who I don’t know too well, Amy, drove us.  She’s also very quiet like me and we’re a lot alike in many ways.  I ended up talking to her quite a bit in the car and it wasn’t hard at all even though we’re both usually quiet.  I always thought she was more shy than me, but it turns out that it just appeared that way because I don’t know her that well and she  probably wasn’t as comfortable the other times I’ve been around her than when she’s with Maria or in a very small group.  After we had been talking for a bit in the car, we picked up our friend Maria, who I know pretty well but have sort of lost contact with.  When she entered the car she started talking a mile a minute, and I couldn’t help but smile.  Maria’s definitely an extrovert and always has a lot to say, which is helpful when she’s around quieter people like us.   And Pearl came, who is sometimes quiet and sometimes more loud, so it was a pretty good group actually.

We went to a Nano High science lecture that was very interesting.  It was on the topic of Neanderthals.  The speaker, Rachel, talked about how we are not descendants from Neanderthals, but instead cousins.  She showed us some pictures of four of the fossils they found on a recent dig in Spain also, which sounded pretty cool.  During her presentation she also explained the differences and similarities between humans and neanderthals, and showed some of the tools they used and how their bones differ.

After that we went looking for a food place nearby.  We were trying to find some place called Barneys but we couldn’t find it so we settled on a different place.  We got along well and had some good conversations over lunch.

On the way back we stopped at a pier and took some pictures, and checked out this adventure playground for kids that looked neat.  Everything was probably constructed by the local community and there were boats and nets and all sorts of cool wooden structures for kids to play on. We took some pictures with some of the stuff because it was fun. 🙂

Then we were back on our way home. Pearl and Maria were singing to the radio in the back, while I just talked to Amy in the front.  I always feel a little uncomfortable when people start singing in the car, because usually they want me to join in too and when I don’t they call me a party pooper or something.  I don’t like singing out loud much, unless I really love the song and am in a really happy mood.  I’d rather just sing my heart out when I’m by myself at home.  I’m glad that Amy wasn’t singing either so I didn’t feel like I had to start singing along to some song I’ve barely even heard of.  Maria and Pearl didn’t try to guilt us into singing with them either, which I appreciated.

When we parted we hugged and said we should hang out again soon.  I’m really glad I decided to go with them, even if it was sort of a last minute decision made last night.  I’ve really drifted away from Maria without meaning to, and I think it’s important to reconnect with friends.  And Amy seems like a really cool person and I’d like to get to know her better and become better friends.  It’s always fun hanging out with Pearl too, she’s always been there for me.  I’m happy that I decided to hang out with them today, and makes me even more sure that I want February’s goal to be to reconnect with friends and improve my relationships.  I’m starting to see more things as “opportunities” now, and have been saying yes to a lot more things than I might normally have without that mindset.

Tried to Add Speech Class…

Well tonight I went off to the community college center again, this time in hopes(sort of) of adding a speech class.  I went to the class and sat down nervously in the 2nd row.  I seated myself one chair away from a guy who looked to be in his mid thirties, early forties. So far I’ve mostly been talking to women because it’s easier for me I guess being a girl and all, so I decided to try and talk to a guy.

At first I thought I wasn’t going to end up talking to him.  I felt pretty awkward, and instead pretended to focus on the speech book and flip through the pages.  I glanced at him from time to time to see if he might want to talk, but he too was flipping through the speech book and reading parts of it.  Eventually I finally said “This is the only book we need right?” as I pointed to the book we both held.  He looked up and smiled and said yeah, and that he had asked the teacher that too.  I said that’s good and he said yeah it’s pretty cheap too, which is nice.  I asked him if he was already registered for the class, and he said he was the first on the list to add, and I told him that I was trying to add too but was further down the list.  Then the class started and the teacher started speaking.

The teacher said that he wasn’t going to be able to add many people, and read off a list of names of the people he couldn’t add that signed up.  Unfortunately, I was one of the names he called, so I had to gather my things and leave.  I was sort of disappointed because he seemed like a pretty nice teacher and was understanding that nobody is really looking forward to this class and he wanted to ease everyone into speaking slowly.  I think I’ll take his speech class another semester.  I thought taking a speech class would be great for part of the Shyness Project, but unfortunately I didn’t get in.  I do have to confront my public speaking fears though, so I’m thinking of other options like Toastmasters that I can do to put myself in that feared situation.  I hate presentations and public speaking, but I know it will be helpful for me if I at least try.

First Class Jitters

So tonight I have my first psychology class at the local community college.  Ever since I got home from school, I’ve been pacing around the house, getting more and more nervous as the time approaches.  I’ll have to leave in about 20 minutes.  I don’t know why I’m getting so nervous, for some reason I always get first day of class jitters.  I probably wouldn’t be as nervous if I weren’t planning on trying to introduce myself to two of my classmates today and starting a conversation, but that is the goal.  It shouldn’t be that hard to talk to the people next to me, but I can imagine that it’ll be a little awkward for me to try and get the person’s attention who’s sitting next to me.  I’m planning to get to class early and get a seat near the front, and then when people come to sit next to me(hopefully) I can smile and say hi and start a conversation about the class or something like that.  Cross your fingers for me!  I hope the people who sit next to me are open to a conversation.

The First Day of the New Year: 2011, A Time for Change

The Shyness Project will be a year-long endeavor to confront my shyness, once in for all.  I created this project because my shyness has been interfering with my life for too long.  I do not want to go on anti-depressants or other shyness pills, do not want to pay a large fee for a short series of classes or sessions, and do not want to resort to drugs or alcohol. I want to take charge of my own life.

Plus, I want to challenge myself and see if I can follow through with this.  I’m afraid if I don’t address my shyness now, it’s going to continue to haunt me the rest of my life and keep me from doing a lot of the things I want to experience in life.

I want to be able to drive without worrying if I’ll get lost and have to ask for help. Or if I get in an accident I want to be able to talk confidently to the other person or the police.  I want to be able to travel abroad without worrying that I won’t be able to ask for assistance when I need it or make friends. I want to be able to teach English abroad and have the self-confidence to stand in front of the room and speak/teach.  I want to be able to make more friends but sometimes I have a hard time starting and continuing a conversation.  I want to be able to raise my hand in class without my heart pounding, my palms sweating, and my mind screaming to keep my hand down.  I want to be able to give a presentation without panicking and worrying for days, and even worse, bail out on it or turn the presentation down out of fear of embarrassing myself.  I want to be able to act goofy and fun in front of others instead of feeling locked up and constricted in my movements.  I want to be able to go outside by myself for a walk or run, or to shop at a store by myself instead of needing someone else to go with me.  I want to be able to make a phone call without making a huge deal out of it and getting extremely nervous.

I’m tired of letting shyness dictate my life, and keep me from doing all the things I’m capable of.  My shyness stands in the way of my dreams and ambitions, and I can’t let it stop me from doing what I want to do.  It won’t be easy, and the feelings in my stomach I’ll get from doing something I don’t want to do will surely be nauseating, but I have to start somewhere.  Even though I am often described as “the shy one”, I don’t like being labeled that and realize that this is more than just a little shyness.  It’s something that has gotten really out of hand and needs to be worked on.

Shyness alone isn’t a bad thing, not at all. But when it prevents you from doing what you want to do and leaves you so stressed out and fearful all the time, then it’s a problem.

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