By Jenn Cammel.
I remember when I was first told about the distinction between introverts and extroverts. It was in my seventh grade gifted class called Discover. Our teacher handed us a sheet of traits and told us to check the ones that we felt were most closely related to us.
There was a lot of traits that seemed to fit me. I loved to talk, something that got me in trouble a lot in school. I loved to perform, I did drama club and speech and debate in high school. I wasn’t shy in the least, I absolutely love meeting new people and making friends. I took charge in social situation.
According to the test, I was definitely an extrovert. This came up a lot more as I grew up. I took more tests, in class and online, that said I was an extrovert. People I met and adult figures would sometimes mention it. No matter the context, I know who I was: an extrovert.
I had many other traits of giftedness that seemed to fit into my idea of myself as an extrovert. I was often over excited, especially when in participating in my different activities like speech and debate. I loved knowing everything and I wasn’t shy about asking people questions when I needed answers. I had a wide range of interests and tries to succeed and tried out for all of them. Even all of these traits pointed to me being an extrovert.
But as I grew up, the idea I had about myself started to change. I still had some of the traits as extroverts; I still loved people and wasn’t shy at all, but I had other traits that didn’t quite fit the image I had of myself. I liked to be alone a lot, especially after I had been with people for a while. I would rather stay inside and read a book than go out to a party with friends, even though I did like to hang with my friends.
It was hard to change what I thought of myself. I was an extrovert, people had told me that my entire life. So how could we all be so wrong?
As I went through high school and am now adjusting to life at college, I am realizing that my view on extroversion and introversion weren’t exactly correct. I was always told that introverts were shy, extroverts weren’t. I wasn’t shy, therefore I was an extrovert. After doing more research, I realized that it isn’t as simple as I thought and the issue isn’t simply black or white. I love to talk to people and I’m not shy but I still would call myself an introvert because I like quiet and need to recharge after social situations.
Finding out what I really label myself as has been such a revealing experience. Introversion doesn’t mean timid or mousey, and I’m glad I found who I really am.
Jenn Cammel is a second-year undergraduate at the University of Cincinnati majoring in communications and journalism. After college, she aspires to conduct public relations and event-planning services in the non-profit sector. Jenn has served as a communications intern for SENG for the past 1.5 years. Jenn has also worked as an intern for the American Heart Association, helping them to plan and host their annual Heart Ball. She has been writing for the monthly newspaper, North Canton Our Town, for over two years. Outside of school and work, Jenn is a member of the sorority Phi Mu and is head of philanthropy. Jenn also serves as the mentorship director for Communicats, the University of Cincinnati's professional communications club.