The Introvert’s Disadvantage


Extraverts: Run the marathon and make it look good.

Ridiculously Photogenic Guy must be an Extravert: Runs the marathon and make it look good.

I like to keep busy.

This is no surprise to anybody who knows me. Setting goals and accomplishing things seem to be as much a part of my temperament as a sense of humor or a good sense of color. But of course another part of my temperament is introversion. I’ve always been rather proud to be an introvert. I’ve certainly never felt any sense that there was anything wrong with being an introvert.

Since beginning classes life has picked up a great deal of speed. Between time spent in actual classes, time spent preparing for various productions, and time spent on auxiliary workshops and seminars required by the curriculum it means that nearly every day of the week is spent in some kind of social activity. Increasingly this is beginning to encroach upon the weekends as well, and while it is work that interests me and I like doing it I am beginning to discover that it is an environment that puts an Introvert like me at a great disadvantage. 

The dilemma that I struggle with is that on the one hand I am anxious to begin helping my classmates with their projects to pay my assistance forward for the times when I will need help from them as well. As a matter of fact I am already indebted to several people who helped me through my first set of auditions, and though I’m not keeping a strict accounting of debts I do recognize that I should make the effort to be there for them should they need help.

On the other hand I get very little time to myself any more to recharge my proverbial batteries. The momentum of life since the beginning of August has kept me moving forward at a much faster pace than I’m used to and the constant demand for me to keep moving and keep active and sociable has made it difficult for me to feel very grounded. Some days I feel like I am keeping my head above water by adrenaline alone. So while I feel intensely guilty for spending a Sunday at home alone instead of volunteering to help my classmates I also feel justified for doing it as a matter of my mental health like getting enough sleep or eating green leafy vegetables.

Introverts may be very thoughtful, attentive people, but we are certainly at a disadvantage when it comes to social endurance- especially in such an ongoing marathon as a graduate program. The key will be building a regular routine so each day won’t be completely new and unexpected. Once I’ve had a chance to acclimatize to the new pace of life then adding new projects to my schedule won’t feel quite as intimidating and I’ll be a more useful helper anyway.

After all, if one thing is for certain it is that no one is going to stop needing help any time soon.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on September 30, 2013.

2 Responses to “The Introvert’s Disadvantage”

  1. Grad school is intense and you will need to recharge – put your alone time in the schedule. One of my tricks was to reserve a private study room in the library – meant for 2 – and that helped quite a bit. (If there were only large ones available, you could take them if no one else had them reserved, but occasionally another introv would wander in and sit on the far side.)

    • That is a good idea- I’ve often lamented to myself that there are no desks in the cinema building that I can retreat to to do some work. A quiet study room sounds like just the ticket 🙂

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