Overcoming Shyness in College


Most media shows the ultimate american college experience as a never-ending party. Okay, I exaggerate, but when I think of how my college days “should” be going by, it’s nothing close to what they actually are. Part of the reason for that is because I am shy and an introvert – I’d much rather spend some quality time on my own than parade my social awkwardness in front of people. Unfortunately, because of this, I feel like I am missing a lot of chances that I could be taking during my time at UW.

With a huge study abroad trip coming up, I figured it’s a good chance for me to boost my attitude a bit and take the opportunity to get busy, go out and socialize (starting my life with a clean slate, people!). So at the risk of sounding a little pathetic, I prepared a short checklist of things I’d like to do and improve upon during the next 6 months in England.

1. Be More Social

Yeah, I know it’s easier said than done. But in order to meet more people it only makes sense to force yourself to talk a bit more, be in public places more often. Joining an interest group or a club (at school or even on Facebook… but only to get event notifications!) can be a great start.

2. Challenge my comfort zone

Throughout high school, my teachers kept repeating that all great things happen outside of your comfort zone. I think I became anxious just thinking about getting out of it :) Although I’d like to say that now is a great time to start challenging myself, I now realize that there’s never the ‘right’ time to do it. Little by little, in small steps, it’s possible to overcome yourself and do something you haven’t done yet any day. This quote sums it up perfectly:

“As you move outside of your comfort zone, what was once the unknown and frightening becomes your new normal.”

– Robert S. Sharma

3. Cut Down on Electronics

O the time I wasted on my phone, Facebook, Netflix, Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter…We all have this list. When I think about all the times I stayed home to watch a show instead of going out somewhere, I cringe! Sure, texting and messaging friends is cool and feels almost real, but think about all the opportunities around us we are missing just to stare in those tiny screens! This goal is pretty simple, and hopefully will be easy to achieve. Maybe the international data charges will play on my side!

4. Participate in Class

I always have a ton of questions in class, but always feel like they’re not important enough to ask. So instead of raising my hand or going into office hours afterwards, I tend to forget them. In the end it not only affects my grades, but I also lose the chance to meet curious students with interesting ideas in my classes. Having an open mind and broad horizons really helps in life, and it starts with meeting people like that to get inspired.

~ These goals are not super-specific for a reason: everyone has different comfort zones. Whatever or wherever they are, I think it’s totally normal to feel uncomfortable in some situations and confident in others. But that very confidence can open so many doors that it’s just a shame to realize that an opportunity has passed by and I didn’t take it because I was afraid to make a step above my comfort level. Overcoming shyness is a slow and difficult personal process, but it can be done little by little. Be brave, take chances and seize the day, people!

What do you do to overcome your shyness? Any goals for the following year?

  • lisa007

    Yes, Thanks Slim. I won’t let any opportunity pass me by again just because am not brave enough to go outside my comfort zone.

  • SLIM

    Lisa, just like the said try. just like the author said “Overcoming shyness is a slow and difficult personal process, but it can be done little by little”.

  • lisa007

    I will have to follow all these steps religiously, I am found wanting in most of them. Maybe that’s why i have this phobia of speaking out in public.
    Thanks for the advice

  • melisa

    Going out a lot, mingling with different kind of people helps a lot in overcoming shyness.
    Nice write up by the Author

  • Sharon

    I used to be an introvert or I used to believe am an introvert until when i met my new set of friends. Lol, they helped me in overcoming my shyness now I am always comfortable talking in public

  • SLIM

    Participating in class is one thing i need to really learn. I am a very shy person, even when i have a very important contribution i will just stay mute because am not comfortable with talking publicly.
    Thank for the advice

  • Ruby

    Cutting down on social media is one way to defeating shyness. You can be whoever you want to be on facebook but that’s not the real you. cutting down on them and socialize with real human is the real deal….

  • Shy

    I have such a hard time overcoming my shyness at college. Its affecting me badly, I have so much to say in class and I NEVER open my mouth to say anything. Even though we have marks for CP, I am still so afraid to participate in fear that I say something stupid and make a fool of myself. I just dont know how to let it go, I think I will reread this again and again and pray it all sinks in haha!

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  • How Do I Revise

    I think being in another country makes it easier to be more confident and socialise because you really can have a clean slate. I’m on my gap year and traveling has definitely improved my confidence!


    • Kat (Study-Hack)

      Hopefully it will be alright! I wish I could take a gap year as well!