Introverts of Pres

Emma Komar, Managing Editor

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What’s quiet, antisocial, and tired of misleading stereotypes? Introverts may be perceived as shy or quiet, but are a prominent part of the Pres community.

Presentation is an interesting place to be an introvert. Between the tight-knit sense of community, the high amounts of homework, and the extracurriculars, it can be hard for introverts in many different ways.

One of the biggest complaints among introverts is the misunderstanding of what introversion really means. Many perceive introverts as people who are antisocial, shy, or socially awkward, when it really just means they lose energy around others and gain it from being alone.

What is often mistaken as antisocial behavior is just an introvert’s recharge time. According to senior Kristin Greenfield, “Sometimes I just reach a point where I am done interacting with other humans, and that can sometimes be interpreted as unfriendliness or passive aggression. In reality, it has nothing to do with the people I’m with, it’s just draining to be around people for long periods of time.”

The walls of Pres are no stranger to these misguided presumptions about introverts. Many students find challenges and rewards going to school here, both academically and socially. Inside the classroom, where practices like group work and speaking in front of large groups occur, shyer introverts can struggle. “My participation grade tends to be low. It’s a grade that is understandable in a language class but otherwise it feels a bit pointless when it’s based on who answers or asks a certain amount of questions,” says junior Kellie Fernandez.

Greenfield adds, “It’s frustrating when teachers teach a new concept and then immediately transition into a class discussion. Sometimes I want to participate, but as an introvert, I need some time to process what I’m going to say. Some teachers have us converse in small groups, before opening discussion up to the whole class, and I think that caters more towards introverts’ strengths.”

But many introverts found they have benefitted from the classroom environment at Pres. According to junior Christine Burchinal, “I feel pretty comfortable in my classes and in raising my hand with our nice community here at Pres. Pres has allowed me to push out of my shell more than middle school and to explore new things.”

This exploration often happens outside the classroom as well, especially as new students navigate the social aspects of Pres. From clubs to sports to just making new friends, introverts have positive experiences and challenges in most social areas of Pres.

According to freshman Katie Baik, “As a introverted dancer, sometimes I feel as if I don’t fit in because I would rather spend my time at the studio practicing my solo and working on my technique rather than going to Starbucks with my friends or spending effort on social media.”

And don’t assume that introverts never talk. “When people find out I’m an introvert they assume I don’t have anything to say, but I do,” says freshman Vianne Sedlack. “I may be quiet and shy sometimes, but I like to contribute to conversations.”

Luckily, when socializing becomes overwhelming or tiresome, Pres does have some hotspots—or rather, quiet spots—for relaxation. Senior Lauren Davis finds sanctuary in the rose gardens, while other introverts enjoy peacefulness in the library, the chapel, or even the bathrooms when they need a break.

Recharging can come in all kinds of habits or activities. Many who responded to a Voice survey about introversion enjoy downtime in the forms of drawing, listening to music, or just unplugging for a while. “I try to take a few minutes in between activities and homework to relax and reflect on my week,” says Burchinal.

Pres is clearly home to introverts with very different backgrounds, ways of recharging, and social lives. There are ups and downs to introversion, as there are most things, but Pres has been an influential institution through it all. And as for responding to the negativity, Sedlack sums up her experience pretty well:

“Whenever someone starts talking over me I just tell them I wasn’t finished talking.”