Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Famous introvert Abraham Lincoln. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

There are a lot of things I dislike. Of the many things, I strongly dislike graded discussions.

In a graded discussion, students are essentially graded on how well they can insert themselves into a conversation and how well they can repeat another classmate’s words.

Graded discussions are merely teaching us that it is better to talk more. The cons of graded discussions far outweigh the pros. But the biggest reason I dislike graded discussions is because they are microcosms that reflect on how the world favors extroverts.

Knowing that the world is extroverted, it is no surprise that school systems favor extroverts, as society itself looks down upon introverts like me.

There are countless movies and TV shows that begin with a “nerdy” protagonist who likes to stay at home and read, but, by the end, undergoes a makeover that gives them dozens of friends and parties.

Although introverts are defined as those who are drained by social situations, society sees introverts are merely quiet, and shy kids.

Silence is an uncomfortable situation for the majority of American society, so it is hardly shocking that these quiet and shy “introverts” are overshadowed by their lively and outspoken counterparts.

Furthermore, just like in graded discussions, society believes that those who talk more are smarter than those who don’t. But this is false. Some of our country’s best leaders were introverted. Barack Obama, Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson all are important parts of our country’s history, and all of them are introverted.

Moreover, another trait those three have in common is that they learned extroverted traits, and used them when appropriate.

If Lincoln did not know how to appeal to a crowd, the Gettysburg Address would not be as renown as it is today. If Mahatma Gandhi was unable to connect with people, one of the world’s most known independence movements may not have come together as well as it did.

These leaders are examples for introverts everywhere. In the end, everyone is a mix of introvert and extrovert. Even Carl Jung, the psychiatrist who popularized the concepts of introversion and extraversion, once said, “There is no such thing as a pure introvert or extrovert. Such a person would be in the lunatic asylum.”

As much as we dislike it, sometimes introverts will need to speak out and be with groups of people. Job interviews, group projects and work meetings are all examples of this. Unless we live as hermits, we will never escape people.

But introverts do not necessarily need to give speeches to have impact. Rosa Parks’ quiet yet powerful refusal to stand up for a white man sparked a massive economic boycott. No one would have thought that a quiet elderly lady like her would become immortalized in history books for her indirect bold move.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

So for all the introverts struggling to find a place in high school, sometimes we need a push to leave the comfort zone so that we can develop necessary skills, just like in graded discussions.

But it is important for us to remember that we don’t need to talk more to be great. Just like Rosa Parks, we can stand up for what we believe with a quiet confidence that makes us more than just “shy”.

There is no shame in preferring not to attend large parties, but rather, staying in with a few close friends. Life would be boring if everyone were extroverts.