Danielle Degelman

I Used To Be Shy…

Posted on: April 7, 2011

cc licensed flickr photo shared by nelmski

I was “Shy Girl” in elementary school and most of high school. I never really raised my hand much in class, and when I did, I was sooooo quiet that most people probably had trouble hearing me. However, I was still very likable in school and people accepted my shyness–they never bullied me or tried to change me. Looking back, I think I was very lucky to be accepted amongst my peers! However, I came to a point when I did not like my shyness and wanted to change it. Why was I being so quiet all the time? I didn’t really have a reason to be so withdrawn from participating and expressing myself in front of the class.

If you know me well, you know that I am definitely NOT shy now. I mean, I don’t raise my hand in class ALL that often, but it’s mostly because I have nothing to say. If you give me the chance to talk, I can offer my opinion, express my thoughts openly, provide descriptions and explanations that are clear and coherent, and offer help or suggestions to a close friend or family member. Most of you are thinking, so what? But to me, this was a huge step in my school and social life. I can admit that I have very strong communication skills and use these skills to my utmost advantage.

The following has helped me overcome my shyness, and I do not regret any of these experiences. (If you are comfortable, please share any relevant comments, questions, or personal experiences that may be similar to mine.)

  1. Technology! In grade ten, I started using MSN and chatted on a regular basis. I got to know some of my other classmates very well, and expanded my “circle of friends”. While chatting online, I would type MANY more words than I was used to. I would ask questions about life…school…get-togethers…music…television…sports…etc., tell stories, and share jokes. (All of this applies to Facebook as well.) Technology helped me realize that I had no reason to be so shy. Even though I felt more comfortable using the computer to communicate, I obviously had a voice that was waiting to be shared at school and with the world.
  2. Volunteering! I have done so much volunteer work throughout high school, and still try to give back to the community when I can. By volunteering at such places as Chili For Children, the North Central Family Centre, Souls Harbour Rescue Mission, and the YMCA, I realized that I can make a huge difference in the community. I can also share my faith and love of God with younger children at my parish by being a Children’s Liturgy Leader (something I still enjoy doing every month). Volunteering helped me become more confident, while meeting others who were battling shyness as well.
  3. Finally, I just TALKED! I remember seeing a lululemon water bottle for the first time, and admiring some of the inspirational quotes that were written on it. One that stuck out for me was: “Do one thing a day that scares you”. So, I did. In high school, I sat with a new girl in class (we eventually became really good friends), I raised my hand more often, and I volunteered to perform a duet in choir. At the end of grade eleven, I went on a Unisong choral trip to Ottawa and sung in front of Prime Minister Stephen Harper himself…life-changing! It was these “scary” decisions that helped me overcome my shyness, and in turn, I chose a profession that allows me to use strong communication skills to the fullest!

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"Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength of the nation." -- John F. Kennedy

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