Monk encourages introverts to break out of shell

Monk encourages introverts to break out of shell

By Jared Saltzberg

I don’t remember my first day of high school particularly well, but the one thing I do think back to is the first time I laid eyes on the senior girls. As they strode through the first floor hallways, they elicited awestruck gazes from underclassmen passersby. Unfortunately, they did not earn our attention because of their poise or good looks, but rather because of their frenzied whistle-blowing. They moved in swift formation towards unsuspecting freshmen, letting loose a flurry of high-pitched tones that rang out like the cries of a flock of angry birds.

Sometimes when I reflect on my four years at CHS, I find my entire experience was embodied by that first day— a cacophony of different pressures, opinions and expectations, all thrown at me at once. However, self-pity and sentimentality aside, there were parts of high school that I genuinely enjoyed.

High school is a rewarding time for extroverts, people who are confident enough to put themselves out there and go after what they want. However, it can be equally as enjoyable for introverts if they learn to cope with the pressures others put on them, and the ones they put on themselves.

As Monk would say, being introverted is a gift… and a curse. On one hand, introverts are naturally pensive and compassionate. On the other, they are notoriously passive and unsociable. It is important for introverts to break out of their shells in certain ways, without compromising the qualities that make them unique.

This holds true for all high school students; only by getting out of your comfort zone can you foster personal growth. Even if you aren’t a sports fan, go stand in the student section for a CHS-Wootton basketball game. Even if you excel at school, take a senior skip day to get some R&R and hang out with friends. Maybe even mix it up and stop wearing the same sweatshirt to school every day— because you will be accused of not washing it, even if you do.

For introverts, the trick is to temper this willingness to diversify and explore with maintenance of your own distinct identity. It’s fine to have just a few close friends, if that’s what you prefer. You do not have to be a social juggernaut to have a strong support system that you can rely on in times of need.

Similarly, if you find that you are more inclined toward creative endeavors, do not stretch yourself to enroll in AP math and science courses, and vice-versa. Devote your effort to subjects you care about, and more importantly, get out of your own head and seek peers with whom you can share your interests.

When I received the assignment to write this final article for the newspaper, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t make it about dispensing advice. The senior girls’ whistle-blowing tradition was banned my sophomore year, and I didn’t intend to revive it by being another whistle screeching in your head. The best laid plans…

As you read through the Senior Section, don’t allow all of our whistles to fall on deaf ears. The “wisdom” of parents, teachers and college admissions officers is often a dime a dozen; while these people have your best interests at heart, they have not shared your experiences and may harbor expectations that make it difficult to speak with them candidly.

The insights of peers, however, can be invaluable. This paper is authored by students who have spent four years in your shoes and have each gleaned something different from their time at CHS. Having worked with them for the past two years, I can honestly tell you: there is no better group of kids you could learn from.