The Shyness Project

Archive for the tag “raising hand in class”

Wrapping up the Vulnerability and Energy Goal

I’m going to wrap things up with the vulnerability and energy goal now.  I’ve given the link to this blog to my two closest friends, though I think only one has actually read it so far.  Her reaction was good and she didn’t feel sorry for me, didn’t try to give me advice, and nothing really changed.  My imagination of the worst occurring and any of those things happening didn’t come true, and I don’t think I made a bad choice in telling her.  She thinks this project is “badass” of me in that I took one of my toughest insecurities and just owned it by exploring my feelings and learning from them.  She said that she feels so honored, blessed, and happy to be my friend, and lucky to have me in her life.  I’m very appreciative of all this and think it’s really nice to be completely accepted and loved when you show the real you and can just be yourself with someone.

I’ve noticed several changes in me since I started this project.  Recently it’s really been apparent that I raise my hand a lot more than I used to, I dress up when I want to, I open up more about sensitive subjects, and I’m just less worried about what others think in general and have a better self-image.

This past weekend at a college orientation class, I asked a lot of questions when others were quiet.  I didn’t feel nervous speaking among the group and I asked my questions with ease and confidence.  I didn’t leave anything uncertain in my head and asked about everything that I wasn’t sure about.  I feel like I see myself as a talkative and confident person now, and see myself as feeling shy only in certain situations.

I’m taking a summer class too, statistics, whoo!  I’m trying to get another big subject out of the way to make things easier for me later on.  On the first day of stats class, I talked to the people around me easily.  It was a breeze and I didn’t feel awkward since I expected positive results.  I noticed that the cousin of a friend was in the class right away and even though I don’t know her well at all we both recognized each other and I opened my arms for a hug.  I sat nearby to her and met her friend, who I think said his name was Crystal.  To greet me he stuck out his hand wrist flexed down as if to show off his nails, and I wasn’t sure what to do so I just did it back and we laughed and he said hey girrrl in the a soft sweet voice.  I asked the younger teenage girl next to me if she was added into the class already and about the textbook (easy conversation starter for a class), and she sort of answered me in a really low voice that I couldn’t hear and she went back to whispering with her friend and giggling.  I got the vibe that she thought I was weird for trying to talk to her and didn’t want to talk.  Oh well, I tried.  Then a lady probably in her 30s sat down next to me, and I decided to try talking to her instead and asked her similar questions.  She was friendly and talked back fully to me and I’d say we got along well.  I liked her and she had a good, friendly vibe.

The teacher has been great, he is actually really young and has a thick Chinese accent.  He is delightfully geeky and has a great sense of humor; I could definitely see him as being a cartoon character in “Futurama” or something. He is very good at making everything very clear too and goes over several examples until there is no doubt that you understand what he is trying to teach.  He makes everything funny and memorable whenever he can too.  I heard that he’s even got a Ph. D in statistics, so I’m very glad that I was able to add his class and learn from him!

I’ve been working on some multiple goals at once lately as some things have taken longer than I expected.  I’m trying to get involved in a speaking group called Toastmasters but it’s taking longer than I thought to join and it’s only once a week so I won’t be able to write about it that much for a little while.  I’ve also been doing a ton of exercise and have been trying to eat healthy. (There is hardly any junk food in the house and I haven’t baked cookies in a long time, though I might cave in soon!)  I’ve been driving on my own too to get to my stats class and have been taking walks by myself sometimes when I have the time. I can write about those things in more detail soon, sorry I’ve not been the most active blogger lately. It gets harder to blog when you get really busy in the summer!  Thanks for reading!

Skirt Surprises

This week I jumped right into things and wore a black skirt, pink sparkly top, dangly silver earrings, and black sandals to school because I thought it was going to be a hot day again, but it turned out to be windy and on the cold side.  I was kind of surprised by what did (or didn’t) happen when I wore the skirt though instead of my regular jeans.

In the morning after I complimented a friend’s necklace and mentioned how cold it was compared to yesterday, I had to actually point out that I was wearing a skirt before she noticed and said it looked nice.

In the first few periods of class the two friends I have those periods in didn’t really notice or say anything, until snack time one of them noticed and said they liked my skirt.

At snack I saw one of my closest friends and she noticed right away and said I looked really cute today and gave me lots of compliments.  I said that since I don’t normally dress this way at school (I usually just wear skirts and dresses when I go swing dancing) so I wanted to go out of my comfort zone a little and she understood and resonated with a “yeah, like switch things up!” and smiled a lot.

Later on some other friends said I looked nice or cute throughout the day, but no one seemed surprised or anything.  It was an interesting discovery, and it really just goes to show that people don’t notice as much as you think and are mostly focused on themselves.  I know that we’re told that all the time but having an experience like that does really help you realize it. I was surprised more people didn’t make a bigger deal about it or try to embarrass me.  I guess just because one friend did that before I somehow got it in my head that it would happen again, but it didn’t.

I did have a few negative thoughts throughout that day that I was able to pick up on and refute.  When I first got to school and was walking past two boys in an empty hallway, I thought I heard them say that they were glad they weren’t girls or something like that, and thought maybe they thought I looked silly all dressed up or something.  But I realized that I could have heard wrong and even if I did hear right it might not have anything to do with me and I don’t know the reason why they would say that.

Right before snack when I was about to meet my friend who gave me all the compliments, I thought “I look stupid” as I walked down the stairs, but then immediately caught onto that and told myself I look good and I don’t look stupid.

I’ve also been giving out a lot more compliments too, and have been taking notice of things others have been wearing.  I try and give 3 genuine compliments a day now and for the most part I’ve done that.

Besides switching things up clothing wise, I’ve still been participating in class.  In third period I answered a question without even thinking about it and it seemed like no big deal.  And yesterday I raised my hand in psych class (remember this one, the one that was so difficult to participate in?) to answer a question without even thinking about it and without any preparation or nervousness.  And today I answered a question 6th period without thinking about it.

Whoa.  What’s happened here?

Hope you all have a great weekend!

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!  🙂

Chatting with One of My Teachers

Yesterday I raised my hand in second period and asked a question. It was just one-on-one with the teacher though because it’s a computer class with mostly independent work, but still, I don’t raise my hand much.

In 5th period I talked to my teacher for the first time.  I’m really silent around him even though I sit right up in the front.  I asked him a question since I missed his class yesterday(I had to do my internship 5th and 6th period).  It was one-on-one once again.  My first question was related to things I needed to do the lab I had to make-up, and after that, I asked him how his presentation went last Friday.  (He mentioned last week that he was going to do a presentation and I had intended to ask him on Monday but didn’t.)  It seemed like something good to talk about, and I wanted to know how it went.  He laughed and told me how only a few people showed up in the audience.  But he sent out an email to a bunch of people saying how it was first time presenting his subject like that and was really happy with how it turned out and was a great success.  He sent it as a joke and was just playing around, but apparently someone took it seriously and sent it to someone high up and important, and now everyone thinks he had some wonderful presentation.  He thought it was funny though, and I made a few comments and smiled along with him.  🙂

At night, I had my psychology class.  I didn’t raise my hand, but I did make a valuable observation that should help me in the future.  When she asks questions, she asks them in a sort of conversational manner, so often someone will just chime in without having to raise their hand.

I had studied up on the material really well so I could answer her questions, but I wasn’t prepared to ask questions.  I couldn’t think of any that night, I just felt too tired and was simply taking info in.

I’m not upset with myself though, which is nice.  I’m ok with taking it slow for this class.  I know it will be the hardest, so I will just keep taking smaller steps by participating in my smaller high school classes.  This should help and better prepare me.

First Participation!

This morning I went to school with the mindset that I would start working on my newest goal: participating in class.  I didn’t necessarily expect myself to go into raising my hand right away though.  I figured I would just try and observe my reactions to see if I could somewhat control them.

I did more than I planned on though.  😉

In first period I decided to say something to the guy next to me, who is also very quiet.  I asked him a question about one of the assignments for the sake of starting some sort of conversation even though I didn’t really need to know the answer.  He wasn’t sure about the answer, but he smiled and spoke softly. I’m glad I asked him because he seemed friendly and sweet.

Then our teacher talked for a while about when the upcoming assignments were due (answering the question I didn’t really need to know anyway since I was already done).  After she finished talking, she passed back papers.  I raised my hand quick before I could put too much thought into it and asked her a question from one of the assignments.  The whole class was talking then and no one was paying attention, so it was much easier to raise my hand and just talk one-on-one with the teacher.  I later asked her another question without raising my hand when she walked past my desk.  She was able to help me, and I got all my questions sorted out.

At lunch I sat with a group of 7 friends that I don’t know too well, except one of them I am close to.  I felt more aware of my shyness in the larger group and noticed that lunch is a lot more fun when I’m just spending it with a couple of close friends in a small group or one-on-one with someone.  We all sat on the ground in a spread out oval-like shape, and I contributed every once in a while to the conversations, but not as much as I normally would in a smaller group.  I felt like I couldn’t talk loud enough to be heard by all the people in the group and a lot of them were able to talk pretty loudly, so I didn’t say too much.

In 6th period, I started thinking more about raising my hand in class.  In this class the teacher always asks a lot of questions and asks for people to volunteer, so I knew this would be a good class to start participating in.  I’ve raised my hand a few times in his class, but most of the time I think about answering and then can’t bring myself to do it and feel incredibly awkward.  A couple questions were asked that I could have possibly answered, but my heart started beating really fast at the thought.  So I paid attention to it and tried to slow it down a little and remind myself of past successes I’ve had when I’ve contributed in his class, and it helped a little.

Then he asked a question about a topic from the book that I had written my journal entry on, and I knew if I was going to answer any question it’d be that one, since I had already written out my answer for the journal prompt.  I felt ridiculously nervous though, more than I have felt in a long time. I was actually shaking a little, and was wondering why I had set this goal for myself and how easy it would be to just not do it.

But I raised my hand as soon as the question was asked.  I was called on, and as I answered my voice was a little shaky embarrassingly enough. It also sounded a little raspy and not like it normally does.  I found that I couldn’t talk as loud as I would have liked to have, and felt like I could have projected more.  But I did it, and he liked my response, and called on another guy who had a different response, but he said they both are two valid ways of seeing things.  He then asked if I could think of an example of what I said from the book and right away I thought of one on the spot and brought up another good point, which he was glad I brought up.

Afterward I was so relieved to have done my participating for the day, it felt pretty good.  I thought now all I had left in my day was going home, eating some cake my mom made since she hadn’t been able to make me a cake last week, and walking the dogs.  I was happy with myself, and I’m so relieved to have the first one out of the way.  I guess I can do this after all!  Next time hopefully I won’t start shaking though, because that was a little overwhelming and I didn’t expect that.

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.

Asking Questions and Handing Out Cookies

Today in first period we had a discussion on exchange rates of currency in other countries.   Our teacher talked about it for a while and showed us a website where we could calculate different exchange rates.  She showed us various graphs of the changes in time of the value of a certain currency, and it was interesting to me.  I had some questions in my head, but I wasn’t sure if they were dumb or good questions.

Near the end of her discussion, I thought about my questions.  When I started to seriously consider asking them, my heart pounded like crazy!

And I decided to ask anyways.  🙂

Apparently they were good questions because she thought about them for a while and then talked about them for a long time.  I think she was glad that I was really paying attention and thinking about what she was saying, since a majority of our class didn’t seem to be listening.

In second period, I took a Photoshop certification test and was the second in all my teacher’s classes to pass it!  I talked to my teacher quite a bit, and she said she was proud of me.  The test had a lot of problems and had ridiculously slow loading time, so much so that errors often popped up and it skipped questions.  I was surprised that I still was able to pass even with all those difficulties with the test.

I have third period with the same teacher, so I ended up staying in my same seat as I have second period as I was finishing up that test (even though I normally sit in a different seat third period).  It took over an hour to get through because of how slow it was.  Since I was in a different seat, someone different sat next to me.  I don’t know her well but I know that she’s very nice.  I talked to her a little about the dance tonight and she showed me a picture of her dress on her phone.  After I finished taking the test, we helped each other out with a Photoshop project we were all working on together as a class.  One of my friends, Sue, had brought me cookies and a really nice card that morning for my birthday (since it’s on Sunday).  I offered the girl I was sitting next to one of the cookies, and she smiled and said thank you.  She then told me happy birthday and we talked about turning 18.

When I saw Sue later I offered her one of her own cookies, and she was eager to have one too.  Later in 5th period I gave another cookie to my lab partner Ben and he apparently liked it a lot because he was acting silly and dancing after I gave it to him.

Several people wished me happy birthday throughout the day, and it was nice.  I had a pretty good day, and I’m looking forward to the weekend!

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