Get a job.
That’s the best advice I received in my college career—because if I wanted to open myself up, it was going to take some extra work.
What better way to open yourself up than to do it over a common interest? People always told me that talking to people in your classes (particularly your major) is a good way to broaden your network.
Not true, at least for me. What am I going to say? How about that test? That assignment? That’s boring.
Instead, I came to work for The BG News (I’m a journalism major).
Slowly but surely, I am gaining both work and social experience by copy editing the paper on select days and contributing an occasional story.
By showing off my skills and offering ideas to the paper, I am able to put a piece of my personality out through my writing. Since it is my top talent, people in the newsroom notice me, thus defeating my invisibility.
As for social awkwardness, that doesn’t go away quickly. However, by coming in enough days and listening to enough conversations, I was able to grasp the work dynamic.
Soon enough, I would crack a joke or offer my two cents on a topic. I actually managed to make people laugh.
Naturally, this is because I waited for a topic to come along that I could comfortably talk about. I’m aware that many of you are tired of waiting, and would rather take action.
But the thing is, I have. By taking on an extracurricular activity, I have placed myself into a group that allowed for more opportunities.
One of my biggest problems was avoiding extra work in addition to school—I was afraid it would mess with my sanity.
My advice would be to start small—turning in an article each week was daunting (because I am a perfectionist, which no doubt contributes to my shyness), so I found hourly work by checking the paper for mistakes instead.
The key is to know your strengths, capitalize on them, and slowly build the relationships.
They have developed faster than I thought.