I’ve said before that I’m an introvert. I was recently introduced to the wonderful TED talk by Susan Cain on the power of introverts. As I watched this video, I found myself constantly nodding along going “yes, exactly.” It was nice to hear someone else put in to words exactly how I’ve felt before in situations.
I agree with her that introverts have a lot to offer. And I also agree that so do extroverts. I think we need both kinds of people in the world. But, I also think that we’d both benefit (the introverts and extroverts alike) if we took a bit of time to acknowledge how differently we approach similar situations and how differently those situations affect us.
It’d be nice not to be berated for not wanting to go out or attend an event. To be allowed (and encouraged) to take the time I need by myself to get myself refocused and energized before proceeding.
Thankfully, in a lot of ways, academia is actually a great environment for introverts. Teaching at the university level, is, in my opinion, actually very similar to talking a small group of people, even in a large group. Sure, you may have a class of a zillion students, but, you’re not really directly interacting with all of them at the same time like in a social setting. You’re generally either presenting, or you’re responding to questions, which is a much more one on one activity, with a bunch of spectators. And office hours are also usually one-on-one.
The main time this is not true is at conferences. Those are generally the times where I feel like I’m being peer pressured to be an extrovert. Between constantly being surrounded by people all day long, they want you to get together and go out for dinner and hang out and generally just spend time together.
Anyway, if you’ve got some time, or just want to waste some time, check out the above video. Are you an introvert and do you find yourself nodding along? Or are you an extrovert, in which case did you learn something about introverts?