Amazing Kids! Magazine

Overcoming Shyness

By Cathy Yan, Assistant Editor, AK Adventures and Global Village Editor

 

When I was younger, I was ridiculously shy to the point where I could not even make eye contact with people I did not know. If someone greeted me in the hallway, I would duck my head and barge past, usually heading to the washroom to seek refuge. I had always been somewhat anti-social, but, in sixth to eighth grade, I hit rock bottom. After transferring to a new school halfway through my grade six year, I found myself in a room of people I had never met before, with no one to lean on.

Funnily enough, this would not have been such a big deal if only I had connected with their values and interests. However, everyone in my school was much wealthier than me, and focused on partying and fashion, which were contrary to my academic interests. Although I had a few acquaintances, no one seemed to understand me beyond the superficial level, unable to share my sometimes dark humor and interest in science fiction.

Halfway through ninth grade, I was once again thrown into a school of strangers. Making friends was incredibly difficult, and I sat alone at lunch for the rest of the year. Come grade ten, however, I was enrolled in my school’s theatre program, where I met some of my closest friends. Theatre forced me to overcome my shyness, and taught me to speak up for myself. Furthermore, pretending to be someone else gave me a sense of previously unknown confidence.

This year, however, was when I finally realized how far I had come. After realizing I would not have classes with my friends, I set out to make new ones. This time around, I was the one greeting people in hallways, inviting them to cool events, and reaching out to more and more people. By putting me through theatre, a challenging environment that pushed my abilities, I was able to grow into a more charismatic and sociable person.

Although I have a lot going for me right now, I will never forget the struggles I had to overcome when I was younger. This is why, whenever I see someone struggling or standing by themselves, I always invite them to sit with my friends and me. I may not be able to give them my full attention all of the time, but the main point is to let them know someone recognizes their existence and is willing to connect with them, whatever the final outcome.