How to Break Out of Your Shell at School

Guest article for Teen Vogue by Dr. Carol 

Moving to a new state and starting over at a new school sounds exhilarating — until you realize it’s time to socialize with a whole new group. With so many changes, acclimatizing to college may seem more difficult than your advanced calculus class. But remember: Everyone is feeling the same way as you — some students are just easier at hiding it, Dr. Carol Langlois, a teen and youth culture expert and author of Girl Talk: Boys, Bullies and Body Image, tells Teen Vogue. With that in mind, use these tips to help you break out of your shell so college is no sweat.

Sleep tight

Yes, eight hours of shut-eye is definitely your ticket to staying awake during class, but it also presents an opportunity to begin a new slate and help manage those night-before jitters.

“Set yourself up for success before you go to bed. Have your alarm set to play your favorite song so you wake up in a comfortable space. Or, have a photo of you and your best friends by the bed that you can look at first thing in the morning. I’d rather wake up looking at that instead of a bunch of schoolbooks sprawled across the floor,” Dr. Carol says.

Similarly, anything that reminds you that you are talented, valued, and loved creates the same effect. Dig up any trophies or special ribbons and splay them across your night table.

Start your morning off on the right foot

Yes, breakfast is definitely a must, but overnight oats aren’t going to do you any good if your mind isn’t in the right place.

Dr. Carol suggests practicing positive thinking for three to five minutes before you get out of bed (that does not include scrolling through Instagram!). Keep your eyes closed and remain calm, breathing in and out.

“Tell yourself ‘Today is going to be a good day. I am going to have fun with my friends. School is going to be okay,’ and so forth,” she says. “You have to consistently manage the negative attitude, get out of bed with a clear head, and start the day in a positive space, or at least move in that direction.”

Don’t overanalyze

Think about all those times you tried to rehearse what you’d say out loud, only to beat yourself up after it came out wrong, or someone spoke over you and you missed your chance. Conversations that flow organically breed deeper bonds.

“I know this may sound strange, but don’t think too much. Stop constantly second-guessing, questioning, and wondering. I know blocking out the negative can be exhausting, but what’s the alternative? Being depressed, sad, or angry? Think of all the energy you waste dwelling on those feelings,” Dr. Carol says.

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