If you look at LUMS from the spectacles of an introvert, you’d find your life here fairly frightening and stressful. A university that lauds speaking skills and brazen confidence can be a challenge for those gentle bees who try to avoid public speaking and cherish time spent in solitude at the khoka or library. This article is hence a shout out to the hundreds of students who are subjected to introversion. Their struggle to find place in the crowd is real and extends beyond the two doors of a class room. Usually introverts are the ones slouched on the back seats of class, eyes on the board but actually engulfed in self-doubt to ask questions. The whole idea of class participation is a huge dilemma for them and they hate it as it makes their grade suffer. Group presentations are a mystery to them, since most of the time neither can they captain the crew nor do things go according to their plan (which considering the amount of thought gone into it, is mostly the correct one).
By now you’re probably expecting a list of tips to ‘help’ these creatures to grow out of their inner shell and embrace the energetic LUMS life. However, that can’t happen; introversion is not a disease or disorder that can be reversed because it is innate. So, to the introverts reading this article, quit googling stuff about how to improve communication skills and how to appear friendly in a group, instead unlock the secret powers within yourselves to use to your advantage. This can be exceptionally hard in a place where the expressive individuals are admired both inside and outside class ,as they are the ones attracting the limelight in every event.
On the contrary, the introverts find themselves more comfortable and active in low key environments, which by the way is completely normal as it is here that introverts can come up with innovative and original ideas. The only difference between them and extroverts is that they prefer working behind thick curtains, only revealing their true talents when given a little push. Don’t you get surprised to hear when the quiet student in class comes up with mind bogglingly creative ideas? Everyone here at LUMS has that one calm and composed friend who is always available for deep talks or ‘failed at life’ talk after class.That friend might be an introvert and reliability is often one of the thousand good things about him/her.
Most students subjected to introversion take on the ‘fake it till you make it’ approach and try to instill artificial social skills to appear more confident. This seems like an apt approach, but might just be damaging for their personal growth. It’s time they tried to feel less guilty about being reserved, stopped measuring themselves against outdated expectations of how students should interact and just feel comfortable in their own skin. A better way for them is to embrace their inner tortoise— because that is what makes them special – by working in peaceful surroundings to discover their ideas and motivation. Through this, perhaps they can realize that moments spent in solitude can become the springboard for their imagination and can help them shine.
But none of this is to say that group work and social skills are not important in LUMS: introverts should try to harness their ideas in seclusion and then work in a group to share those ideas with others. Even though stating their opinion aloud makes them uneasy, an attempt to speak up once in a while is essential. Apart from getting the class participation marks, speaking up instills confidence in introverts to carry out simple tasks like conveying their ideas straightforwardly to others. And rest apart, who wouldn’t like earning CP, double if you’re confident? Accepting introversion and playing it to your strengths is one thing and that means accepting that everything cannot necessarily be accomplished in your comfort zone. It might sound clichéd, but sometimes to achieve something you need to step out of your relaxed state. In other words, it is okay if introverts want to sail their boat smoothly, but it won’t be a bad idea to shake their boat once in a while, take risks and realize their true potential.
Lastly, if you happen to be an introvert, just remember one thing: the next time you get asked why are you so quiet, I hope you come up with a witty answer and brag a little about what makes you special. Introversion is a part of you, embrace it.