If you’re shy by nature, the prospect of raising your hand to participate in a college class can be daunting. But having the confidence to speak up in public is not only a skill that you have to master to do well in college, it’s one you’ll need as you work to be successful in your career. To overcome your fears and gain the confidence to participate in class, remember this advice:
Learn the material
Sometimes an unwillingness to participate in class comes from being unsure if you know the course material well enough to answer a question or give your opinion. It’s easy to combat this issue if you take steps to ensure that you are thoroughly prepared for every class. As you read through assigned texts, make a list of questions you think may be asked during class discussion. Write a few quick notes that you can reference for an answer, and you’ll be more confident as you speak.
Talk to your instructor
If your fear of speaking up is a matter of intimidation, getting to know your instructors better may take care of the problem. Remember: They’re people too, and their primary goal is to help you learn and be successful. If you have questions about a reading or were confused about something the instructor said, ask if you can meet with him or her and go over the content. Chances are the answer will be yes, and you’ll not only have a better understanding of the material, but will also gain confidence.
Position yourself for success
If you’re shy about speaking up in class, turn off that little voice inside of your head that tells you you’re not smart enough or don’t know what you’re talking about. You had to accomplish a lot to even begin college, so if you take the time to learn the material before class, there’s no reason to think that you’re any less knowledgeable than the other students in the room.