Written and illustrated by Joy Reeves (a sophomore at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School Potomac, Maryland). The article originally appeared in The Mane News (April 12, 2016)
The buzz of constant liveliness and socialization at St. Andrews (or any high school, for that matter) is bound to energize the extroverted side of anyone. But what about those who draw energy from being alone? Those who find comfort in solitude and self-awareness? Around 50% of people would consider themself introverted. Here’s why introverts are able to thrive at St. Andrew’s:
- All types of people go to SAES.
What’s cool about St. Andrew’s is there is no popularity hierarchy based on who is the most outgoing. Frankly, no one is popular at St. Andrew’s. We are too small of a school to really measure popularity…and it doesn’t seem to matter to anyone. It’s easy to surround yourself with diverse personality types complimentary to your own.
- You don’t have to participate in everything.
One of the biggest differences between lower school and high school is that high school does not emphasize required participation in most events. Although you have many chances to participate in your passions in front of the school, you can CHOOSE which ones you’d like to showcase, and watch the rest. Participating in Class Cup Competitions (although most people prefer to watch) is different: some brave soul has to volunteer!
- There are tons of social spots, but also a lot of nice, secret, quiet spots to hang out.
If you’re in the mood for a crowd, it’s easy to find one: basketball games, embarrassingly loud clumps in the hallway, study groups, band practices, or weekend dances. But breaking away is okay too. After being at St. Andrew’s for a year or so, you discover some comfortable little places to relax on campus: the library (make sure not to get kicked out), in the gallery, out in the garden, and soon, on the quad! Free periods help us all maintain sanity and stay on top of our academic and personal lives.
- Teachers are really into self-evaluations and understand shyness.
Teachers don’t pretend to read them. They actually read self-evaluations. If you hesitate to speak in class, as long as you clarify why in a self-evaluation, the teacher will completely understand. Some people learn best by actively participating and speaking, while others learn by actively listening. Introverts don’t have to force themselves to raise their hands constantly in order to receive an A in the class.
- You see the same people often enough that your encounters with them in the hallway aren’t awkward.
Inevitably, in such a small school, you’re going to see a lot of your friends. Every day, the facial expressions exchanged get a little weirder and the conversation a little more personal. Best friendships develop. Recognizing everyone becomes comforting and enjoyable. Introverted or extroverted, the St. Andrew’s community becomes home.