How to succeed as a shy student

A shy student may find that shyness is interfering with success in school. Do you find yourself struggling to ask questions in class? Are you a student that is often overlooked for projects or study groups because you don’t stand out?

If being a shy student affecting your school success, you can develop the skills to become comfortable interacting with others.   You can try some of the same strategies used by teachers to help their “shy” students feel more confident in the classroom.

  • Make a List: Write down who you need to talk to and what you need to discuss. It’s the same advice you get about doctor office visits, make a list of concerns and bring it with you. The hard part is remembering to ask the questions.
  • Go Early, Stay Late: If you need to talk to an instructor or classmate, figure out their schedule. Do they go to class early to get settled or stay late to chat? Use this as an opportunity to introduce yourself and ask questions as needed.
  • Set Goals: If class participation feels overwhelming, set yourself a goal. Start with something small like asking at least one question per class. Jot down possible questions based on your lecture notes or when reviewing assignments.
  • Join a Club: One way to get to know people is to join a club that interests you. Clubs are great because they operate on schedules and rules.   You don’t need a special invite to go to meetings and you interact with others on projects.
  • Use a Conversation Starter: Prepare a few generic conversation starters to help you strike up a conversation with a new or unfamiliar person. For instance, you can plan to ask someone where they are from or how they did on a project.
  • Email: Teachers and classmates often share their email addresses. You can send an email to introduce yourself or ask questions. Keep your emails polite, short and to the point. This can be an excellent option for breaking the ice.
  • Download this free Ideal Life Worksheet!

Being shy is a personality trait that makes you just a bit less outgoing than other people in certain situations. If you want to overcome your shyness, work on it.  Just be sure you know the difference between shyness and introversion and you don’t try to overcome introversion because introverts are just as awesome as extroverts.  (Shyness and social anxiety are different, too.)  If your shyness happens around certain situations and it does not negatively impact your livelihood, don’t be hard on yourself because it is perfectly okay.  If you feel it tends to make you uncomfortable in situations that can impact you negatively, then you could work on areas that will help you get a better handle of these particular moments. You can use some tried and true teacher strategies to help you boost your confidence and work well with others. Improving your social interactions may be the key to your overall success in school.

by writer, Tommeka Semien

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