At a school like Cornell, being shy can feel like a disadvantage. You want to feel comfortable being yourself, but everyone expects you to be outspoken and opinionated. It’s easy to be misunderstood when you speak less than others do. Here are some things you or your shy classmates deal with every day.
1. Being constantly asked, “Are you ok?”
When you’re shy, a lot of people assume that there’s something wrong with you. It’s pretty common for classmates, teachers, and even random strangers to think you’re sad, angry, or that something happened. It’s nice that people care, but it can be kind of annoying when you hear it all the time and you’re perfectly fine.
2. Participation Grades
Being graded on participation can be both a blessing and a curse. For some people, it’s easy points, but when you’re shy, seeing a 20% participation grade on the syllabus is literally the worst. Being expected to talk during class can be brutal, especially when you aren’t given options to participate in other ways.
3. Being left out of plans
It’s a sad fact in a shy person’s life. Sometimes when you’re less outgoing, people forget about you. When making plans, the loudest and most charismatic of the crew are usually thought of first. Not only that, but people tend to assume a less chatty disposition means you don’t want to come.
At Cornell, there’s networking events pretty much every day. They’re great opportunities to meet with companies that come on campus to recruit, but for a shy person, networking is basically the kiss of death. Talk to strangers? Try not to blush in the hopes that they like you? No thank you. New people are scary when you’re shy, especially when they can have such a big effect on your future.
5. “I Was Gonna Say That”
In class, you know the answer but you don’t want to raise your hand. Then, someone else raises their hand and says exactly what you were thinking. It’s one of the worst feelings. Those two seconds of glory should have been yours.
6. People Look At You Weird When You Do Talk
When you have something to say, everyone stops and stares at you in shock. You have so much extra attention on you that you wish you hadn’t talked in the first place. Like, yes, you can talk. Stop staring like it’s a big deal or something.
When you’re shy, there’s a lot of things you have to deal with that other people don’t even have to think about. Just know that you’re not alone, and all of us shy people feel your pain–silently.