A View from the Middle - Middle School
Welcome to A View from the Middle by Corinna Crafton, Head of Middle School, a blog featuring interesting educational observations and commentary.
Dr. Crafton will be posting here regularly. Please be sure to scroll down to read more and check back frequently for updates.
Introverted Minds: A Student Guest Blog
Our theme for this month’s Division blog is Ethical Conduct. Certainly, I could write at length about the many examples that abound in my daily interactions within our Middle School. I could share inspiring stories of Middle School students choosing to do the right thing even when no one was watching or when it would have been easier to make a different choice. I could provide an overview of research or data about the positive impact that an ethical mindset and ethical behaviors have on lifelong happiness and health. I won’t be doing any of those things for this blog, however.
Rather, I must step aside this month and allow a student to do the sharing with you. It is, in fact, the ethical thing to do! Our guest blogger has an important message for us all, a reminder that strength and courage come in many forms, some loud, others quiet. I had best let her explain.
I am proud and pleased to welcome sixth grader Ruhee Hegde as this month’s author of A View from the Middle!
Introverted Minds by Ruhee Hegde, Class of 2025
People I know always ask me, “Why are you so quiet?” I sometimes even ask that question to myself. I don’t have a clear-cut answer for this question. Possibly I was born as a quiet person and I don’t have to change who I am.
I often think that the whole world is designed for extroverts. In school, it often seems like “you are so outgoing” is the best comment that someone could give to another person. Many times, teachers ask me to speak up more. I always wonder how some of my classmates are able to chat all the time with others, whereas I am not able to. During school presentations, initially I would get nervous and uncomfortable that everyone was looking at me. But slowly I got comfortable and more social with people. Now I can talk about any favorite topic for an hour at least. I can dance or do public speaking on stage without much fear. Little by little, everything got easier. Internally I have not changed much. I still feel exactly like any other introvert would feel, but now I know how to cope with the other side of the world– extroverts!
The process of understanding my limitations and powers was not that easy. Before, I always wanted to be like other outgoing kids and questioned myself a lot. I always thought: Am I normal? Why am I not like the other kids? After my own long research, I understood that it’s nothing but “I AM AN INTROVERT” and whatever behaviors I exhibited are completely normal. Introverts need some time to actually find out and explore who they are as human beings. I researched online and read some books about that topic. One of the books I liked a lot is, Quiet Power, by Susan Cain. The author wrote about her experiences as an introvert and in the book, she referred herself as being “in the world that couldn’t stop talking.” Yes, that’s exactly how I feel inside also. She also wrote about other kids’ experiences as quiet ones. I would recommend that book to anyone going through the same situation. It brought more confidence inside me and helped make it easier to talk to people from the tips she wrote in the book. More importantly, it made me realize that there are many other people like me in this world and it helped me clear many misunderstandings about quiet people. I would like to share some of those misconceptions about introverts as below:
(1) Introversion and shyness are not the same thing. Everyone is shy at least sometime in their life. People think that introverts can’t be leaders or introverts are shy just because we are quiet at times. Take the example of Barack Obama, our 45th president of the U.S. He is an introvert too! He’s one of the best public speakers and he led our country as a president. This leads us to another misconception of introverts.
(2) Extroverts often think that introverts are poor public speakers and they don’t like to make eye contact with people. It’s true that introverts, because they are quiet, might not like being up on stage with all the attention. Introverts can be quiet but confident speakers and they can express their feelings enough to the point where they feel proud.
(3) Another misconception about introverts is that they are unemotional and that extroverts are happier than introverts because of the way they are outgoing. Introverts might not show many facial expressions and emotions and it might look like they aren’t interested in what someone is saying. They can show emotions. Take the example of comedians such as Steve Martin and Woody Allen. Even though they are introverts, they are famous for their funny and comedic jokes. It’s kind of hard to believe that even some of the world’s iconic Hollywood actors are introverts. The overall statement is that introverts can do anything that extroverts can do.
There are some things that introverts feel hard to fit naturally into the social world. I didn’t like going to parties with a lot of noise and that fear of being with other people that I wasn’t related to made it a whole lot worse to make proper friends. Without proper company, it’s hard for introverts to enjoy the parties. I always preferred to sit with my parents at our community parties because I didn’t have proper fun company. Also, I never like noisy loud music and chatting with unknown people.
I used to get tired after talking for a long time with my friends. Introverts might need more “alone time’’ to rejuvenate after any social conversation. It’s not that they don’t like to mingle with people or talk to them. They prefer small groups of people in gatherings and more preferably like-minded ones. I can talk for an hour or so on my passionate subject areas like robotics, historical events, or fun facts trivia. Many times, my parents were surprised to see me in that “talkative mood.” So, don’t assume that introverts don’t talk more. They may not initiate the talks, but it all depends upon their interests, ambience, and most importantly, comfort zone.
To all the introverted adults and teens out there, here is some advice to tackle the fear of not fitting in or not being normal:
Always let your imagination flow and give yourself some time to just relax. Remember “being quiet” helps your brain to focus more and organize better. I myself am a deep thinker and good listener. Don’t worry what others say about you. Focus on what’s inside your mind and consider being quiet is actually a magic power!
Find your passion and use it in a way that you are comfortable. When I was in Lower School, I found that I am very passionate about math, science and other STEM related topics. I love to read trivia about all amazing things in Wikipedia. Introverts usually have a great ability to focus on multiple things and to pursue them.
Make sure to communicate well with your closest friends and let them know what you are going through. It’s never fun to be lonely and without any friends. But never rush and change yourself to fit in. Being yourself is important and your friends will slowly understand.
Get enough alone time to re-energize. It’s completely normal that you get drained out easily by the loud noises or the social interaction for longer periods.
I am now happy and comfortable with who I am and I am eager to explore more about my introverted mind power. I’ve enjoyed the process of knowing myself better so far and I would like to continue the same.
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