For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Jul 04 2016
by Karina Lopez

An Open Letter from a High School Introvert

By Karina Lopez - Jul 04 2016

Dear Classmates (or whomever may be reading this),

Some of you probably know me, most of you probably don’t, and I’m here to tell you that either way is completely fine. I’m more than aware that, for most of you, I was probably just another space filling a desk, that weird person who really didn’t say much in class or just the person who awkwardly idled around as you talked to my friends. I promise I wasn’t just eavesdropping on your conversation, or judging you silently from my place--more likely than not I was in my own head thinking about something else entirely.

Being an introvert or, to put it simply, someone who finds preference in activities that are spent in solitude, means that, often, I would be in my own head or minding my own business.

Being an introvert doesn’t mean I was necessarily a social outcast or antisocial. 

It meant that I find solace in more intimate engagements with friends, or being by myself.

Being and introvert doesn’t mean I’m rude or unwilling to branch out and talk to others: most introverts aren’t shy or timid--they can talk to strangers or be the first person to initiate conversation, yet we find these social interactions exhausting. More often than not, we spend more time lamenting or thinking over what we said, what actions we took. We often double think interactions more often and we aren’t impulsive. We’d much rather be inside our confident zone, talking with friends, rather than branching out.

The average high school classroom experience, according to the media, means that you always raise your hand or engage in a compelling debate with your classmates, yet--as most of you already know--such activities are not true. I spent most of my time in high school praying that I wouldn’t be called on, that people wouldn’t ask me questions and that the teacher didn’t assign groups during group projects. It isn’t that I didn’t know the answer to questions asked or anything about the subject, it is the fear of the interaction, the impending doom of being humiliated if you were wrong. The pressure was immense for activities that required much social interaction. If the teacher would ask questions, I would rack my brain for a proper way to answer, analyze the way someone else had answered and tweak my response to mimic theirs, even if I wasn’t called upon. More often than not it would be better to pretend you are busy to encourage people to skip over you.

Being an introvert means realizing that every opportunity that arises where you could use headphones is a blessing. Were it to tune out the world around you, help you regain focus or just used to take a small breather from social interactions, they helped you calm your thoughts.

Being an introvert doesn’t close you off to the world. When I was confident in my element I would often participate. That confidence helped to remind me of my bravery which fueled me to discuss in class and express what I am passionate about.

Being an introvert doesn’t mean I will be swayed to agree with you or I don’t know how to stand up for what I believe in.

Being an introvert didn’t make my high school experience any better or worse than yours. High school is amazing, it is a place to grow and learn about life, inside and outside the classroom. I am not a snob and did not look down on you. I am not a creeper and did not eavesdrop in your conversation or stare at you. I am not crazy for laughing or smiling out of the blue. I often am thinking about what I did today, what I will do, something that happened months ago--yet it’s pertinent to what happened to me at the moment. Everything that goes through my head often helps me prepare for the moments.

Being an introvert means I am not impulsive, yet that does not mean I can't sometimes make impulsive decisions.

Being an introvert made it harder at times, yet I am glad to be an introvert. I learned how to work with myself and expand my limits. I learned how I can use my knowledge to reach a conclusion or come to a decision I can be fully satisfied with.

Being an introvert made me appreciate my friends and made me more observant. It helped me mature and realize what people really meant to me.

I am an introvert and I am completely fine with it.

Lead Image Credit: Unsplash via Pixabay

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Karina Lopez - SUNY Fredonia

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