Coming out of your shell

Bonjour tout le monde! (Hello everyone!) My name is Michelle Noel. I’m a junior studying English with a concentration in Professional Writing and a minor in Music. A few fun organizations that I have been a part of here at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette are Sigma Tau Delta National English Honors Society, the French Club, and the Pride of Acadiana Marching Band. Each day is full of little adventures to celebrate!

Introverts unite! Well, maybe uniting isn’t what you have in mind. As an introvert myself, I have always had trouble conversing with people. I tend to stutter because I get nervous when talking to people and think that maybe I’m not saying the right things. There are so many people on campus that you have to talk to someone at some point. It is also ideal to find classmates you can talk to if either of you need help in the course or find out what you missed on a day you were sick. Naturally, you have to be social.
I was never a social butterfly, and I still work on this problem every day. I say problem because I feel that I shouldn’t be so timid in the professional world. There’s nothing wrong with being quiet; some people you meet will enjoy someone that listens (and introverts are great at this)! As a writer I am habitually introverted because writing is a solitary task and other people around make that job difficult. I tend to observe instead of talking to people at social functions. Making friends in college is incredibly important, though, for your future. You’ll have connections to many different fields, as well as many kinds of people.
To be honest, most of the students I know have grown out of their high school friendships and created even closer relationships with people in college. These new friends may be the maid of honor or the best man at your wedding. Even the bride or groom! The person you were in high school soon changes into a more mature self when you come to college; a self that becomes more of who you want to be. Other college students have also changed since their grade school days and have a clearer version of who they are, making new friendships easier and more lasting than those of the high school years.
One way I’ve found to be friendly is to just relax and be spontaneous with conversation. I never thought I could be myself with a stranger, but it isn’t too difficult after all. Practice at coffee shops when you order coffee by commenting on the barista’s earrings or asking her about the kind of tea she would recommend. I find that when I think too much about what I want to say to someone I end up making the conversation awkward and my company feels as if they should walk away. I still have bad days, but it doesn’t mean I have to make someone else’s day gray with a dull conversation!
Making new friends is something that excites me. It’s scary, but if I am able to walk up to them and start talking about something we have in common (the organization we’re in, what kind of food we ordered, what class we’re in, how incredibly long that History test was), I suddenly lose that fear and become confident that I can be as friendly as the bubbly cheerleader next door! One thing to remember is that many times you must make the initiative. Some people, spunky or not, won’t think to start a conversation. Don’t be that person! Be friendly; smile; make everyone you meet have a better day just with a “Good morning!”

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