I don’t like to eat in the lunch room during school hours because of the sheer amount of people there. I can’t really enjoy my lunch if there’s too many people around me. I guess that’s why I don’t really like crowded restaurants either. Anyway, I like to eat in this one teacher’s classroom (don’t worry, she’s totally fine with me eating there) because there’s fewer people there.
One time, my teacher sat down with me and the other kids who ate in her room to talk to us about being happier students, therefore happier people. It’s her goal this year to teach us ways to be happier persons because of some certain dark events that had happened this school year. She had several units, and this month’s unit was realizing our biggest weakness and working on improving it.
She gave us slips of paper to write them down and she was going to share them with other lunch periods (anonymously, of course). I thought about what I was going to write and I realized one of my biggest weaknesses is my social anxiety.
It hinders me in almost every aspect of my day. I rarely talk during class or ask questions because I’m too scared to talk to others. I have this crippling fear of failure. I don’t take risks because I’m scared of the unknown. Even sending emails makes me sweat. I also have a hard time communicating with others, even those who are closest to me.
I know it’s normal for many people to be nervous and awkward when meeting new people, but I can’t speak sometimes because of how nervous I am. Just the thought of meeting new people makes me break out in sweat. It’s not that I hate people, I just don’t know how to interact with them.
Maybe it’s because I’m afraid of rejection or failure. You’d think that moving over the years to different schools would’ve made me at least a little more comfortable with meeting new peers, but it hasn’t. In fact, I think it’s gotten worse over the years.
Another reason I’ve been really thinking about my social anxiety is because my parents signed me up for this medical summer camp this summer. My mom asked me if I wanted to go, but the only reason I said no was the crippling fear of meeting new people. I knew it would be a great camp to go to, but I just couldn’t get over the fact that I’ll have to interact with people I have never met before.
My older sister went there when she was my age and said it was a fantastic camp to figure out what kind of medical field I want to get into (I want to become some sort of doctor when I go into college). As much as that sounds nice and dandy, that means I’ll be spending a week away from my family and the bubble I call home. That means I’ll be living with strangers for a week. Just the thought of meeting new people made me want to curl up into a ball and not move.
Thinking back on my actions these past months have lead me to realize how much my social anxiety hinders me from doing the things I love.
I want to combat that. Rather than staying silent in fear, I want my voice to be heard. I want to participate. I’ve missed so many great opportunities because of my anxiety, and I don’t want that to ever happen again. That’s why I’ve decided to start speaking up in class more often. Most of the time when my teacher asks a question, I know the answer, but I’m not 100% sure if it’s correct.
I’ve also decided to speak up for what I believe is right. I’ve noticed that whenever I question or point out what someone said that was wrong, I took away their power to say those hurtful things. People feel like they can say those hurtful and disrespectful words because no one had stopped before, but not on my watch anymore.
On a different note, I just wanted to say that I’m going to be posting less frequently these next couple weeks due to school. I’ve got a lot going on, especially when AP tests are right around the corner. After they’re all over, I should have a lot of time freed up until finals roll around.
Until next time….