By Ashley-Nicole Weatherington
Monday, August 29, 2011
How can a shy young woman possibly survive a political leadership training program designed for extroverts? Ashley-Nicole Weatherington describes how she got it done.
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (WOMENSENEWS)--What is a shy young woman who despises public speaking to do after signing up to learn more about a career that requires constant public speaking?
That was a big question as I looked ahead to a six-day political leadership program--NEW Leadership New Jersey--for college women at Rutgers University's Douglass Campus.
Here also was another chance to be in an all-female situation, and after living in an all-female suite in college for three years, I was pretty sure that was not for me.
As a shy only child I don't have the best social skills and having to live in a room with people I didn't know or choose was difficult. I just don't act like a stereotypical 20-something.
My nickname in elementary school was grandma. I'm an early bird, don't drink or smoke, don't stay up late or talk on the phone for long hours of the night and don't party.
Throughout my campus years I was surrounded by a serious case of drunkenness, loud talking, unexpected visits by my roommate's boyfriends and endless dirty dishes waiting to grow fungus in the sink. (I admit I did contribute to that last element.) It all made me long for my own room at home where noised ceased by 11 p.m. and cleanliness was all around.
Introverts get exactly what we most dread when put into talkative settings: We attract a spotlight with our silence.
In my own case two things tend to happen: I'm either constantly checked on by counselors or dorm leaders "out of the goodness of their heart" to make sure I am communicating with the other students and not staying in the secluded state that I love so much. And because I keep to myself and don't conform to peer social pressures and don't start conversations immediately, I'm automatically disliked and viewed as an outcast by other students.
As I result, I like to retreat. Solitude is a haven where I can read and write and enjoy the pleasure of my own thoughts.
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