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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Teens with the Best #Self-esteem Tend to have one Trait in Common.

Adaptability is the key for healthy teen self-esteem.

Adaptability has everything to do with being prepared for whatever life presents you with each and every day. For many of us we get caught up in daily routines. Daily routines provide comfort which is fine; however, when something changes in that routine for many teens it can be hard to handle. Once this occurs, they can feel disjointed, even depressed. Because of that one curveball, the rest of their day can seem ruined.  This doesn’t have to happen. Be ready for whatever comes your way.  Adapt to the change. How do you do this?

  • By taking up different interests and different activities.  Keep trying new things; and meet new people.  Move beyond your comfort zone as often as possible.
  • The teens I see with the best adaptability skills tend to have one thing in common.  They work part-time or volunteer on a consistent basis. Why does this work?  Because, you have to be ready for whatever comes your way when you work or volunteer. You get ththrown multiple curve balls at the same time. You have to be responsible, on time, take directions well and execute. One day you may be answering the phones, another day you may be working on a computer screen while other days you may be interacting with customers. The unknown is good for you. You will be nervous in the beginning, but with time you build comfort in the process. This in turn builds confidence and self-esteem.
  • Interacting with other adults and peers that aren’t your family, neighbors, friends, teammates or teachers tests your comfort zone and prepares you to become a stronger communicator down the road.
  • Don’t stick to the same routine, challenge yourself and learn to roll with the punches. That way your whole day can’t be ruined by one problem or obstacle in your way. You get past it, adapt and move on.

Helping Hobbies that Build Self-Esteem: When you help others, you sometimes help yourself..

Guest Blog by Domonique Chardon 

Here are three hobbies that can help others as well as your own self-esteem.

Volunteering: Whether you’re helping out at a local organization, raising awareness for a particular cause, or fundraising for an issue you believe in — volunteering is an extremely fulfilling hobby.  Getting familiar with issues in your community and more importantly the people and organizations behind them, is a great way to give back and also benefit from the experience. It’s also a great way to make new friends and meet new people that you might not otherwise run into. A kind heart is always remembered.

Baking: You’d be surprised how far one cupcake will go!  Baking is a fantastic hobby that does require some skill and a penchant for hitting the sweet spot; but what I love the most about baking is:  I’m not the only one who can enjoy the results! One may not notice at first, but there are plenty of opportunities to apply baking skills. Aside from baking for special occasions like birthdays etc., I’m a firm believer that any day is a good day for a cupcake! Or a cookie, or cake, or cake pops, or brownies, or  -– you get my drift. The Baker is adored.

Physical Challenge: Let’s face it – not all of us were born athletes or are where we want to be in terms of physical fitness. That’s why choosing a physical challenge as a hobby is difficult; however, it can be most rewarding. Besides improving your health another upside is the various options one can choose from.  There’s literally something for everyone. If you don’t enjoy working out in a gym you can hike, bike or run outdoors. Why not join team in training, a road race, an organized walk or a marathon where all the proceeds go to a great cause. Knowing that you are doing it for others will help push you along.  It’s a win win situation. When you challenge your body, you also challenge your mind. It takes determination to commit to practicing a physical hobby regularly.  As your stamina builds you will become even more determined and you will see results!

Domonique Chardon is a bay area native, young professional, aspiring writer and a spiritual being having a human experience. 

Twitter: Domonique_007

About.me/domoniquewhite