How to Value Yourself in School
We all are introverts. Whether you’re a master musician or you do your homework in front of the fire, this fact is undeniable. Most people who are introverted also don’t feel that we’re understood or accepted. Without the social support and support of others we tend to lack confidence in ourselves and less savvy about how to share our expertise. In other words, we may have less people skills and more “talking skills.” But we don’t appear to “walk the walk” if we’re an introvert. So let’s consider some other ways to measure one’s social skills.
You might answer “yes” if the following questions are true:
Am I self-aware enough to notice negative aspects of myself and work on them?
Am I aware of my needs and wants?
Do I take initiative?
Do I start things?
Do I stick with my decisions?
Do I always share my thoughts?
Am I energetic?
Did you achieve your success or life goals?
What is the next action you plan to take?
There are also a wide range of other experiences that can help us learn how to be more socially adept, and the answer can be “yes.” Knowing you’re not alone, practicing self-awareness, and learning about needs and wants can go a long way toward improving your social skills. From the start to the end of school year, here are six strategies we can use to help you thrive in school and be more socially approachable:
1. Change your communication style. The simplest, most efficient way to engage people is to introduce yourself and ask a few simple questions. For example, instead of saying, “What’s happening?” tell your class what you have done recently (even if you haven’t completed your homework or are on a weekend planning trip) and discuss how you’re doing today. You can also ask questions about what’s going on in your classroom. Your class will recognize your confidence and openness.
2. Invite others to share. Ask the faculty member or teacher to speak to your class; you want to hear about what they have seen for their last week. Ask for their thoughts on other topics, such as directions to class or what they learned about their own classes the last week. It doesn’t have to be something important, and you might not get a response. You just want to feel heard and valued. Even people who are too shy to talk to you if it’s not required can respond positively if you respond positively to them or let them know you value their presence.
3. Identify and share your social skills. If you have a skill that others appreciate and value, share it. So if you’re an extrovert, identify what you like about interacting with others and share it with them. Or, if you’re an introvert, you might want to identify a skill you’re good at and share it with others to help them learn how to manage stress or hold conversations for longer periods of time. You might be surprised how you can serve as a role model for others in these areas.
4. Be unassuming. Always follow your gut! We know that it’s easier to befriend someone who fits what we’re looking for in a friend than to fight off people who don’t meet our expectations of how a friend should be. And most of us are human beings, not robots. We are fallible and we have fallible social skills. Once we recognize that and identify the social skills we don’t like to use in our daily lives, it’s easy to use them in our school routine. We may even find out that we can add them to our repertoire and reduce the embarrassment we feel when meeting new people or having to be in public situations.
5. Practice peer support. If you are struggling in school, your teachers can help you build social skills through peer support. If you learn that talking or introducing yourself to a classmate can help to solve your problem, then you have the energy to be more approachable. We know that feeling included is a key component of feeling competent. So why not try it and see if it makes a difference?
6. Attend activities. For the most effective social skills, you need to engage your peers. Attend activities with others. Choose to start a conversation with your peer groups rather than wait to be asked for help or go out of your way to help a classmate. If you do, you may learn how to be less conspicuous to yourself, more approachable, and less misunderstood.
Bottom line: we’re introverts. We�