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Quiet by Susan Cain

"Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know" -Lao Zi

The higher education profession is divided essentially into two realms: classroom and non-classroom. The classroom is filled with professors and other faculty members who are focused on a certain academic field. The non-classroom, commonly known as “student affairs” is filled with a wide array of individuals who are committed to helping the student be successful. I am a part of the student affairs realm. My mission is to help students in a variety of ways which requires a lot of student interaction, group meetings, and the occasional public speech. It is definitely a vocation designed for extroverts, however I am an introvert. 

Being youngest of three brothers, I was essentially destined to be a shy kid. But as I grew up, went to high school, and emerged from my shell of shyness, I still never felt particularly comfortable being loud or overly gregarious. I enjoyed quieter atmospheres, one on one friendships, and reflective outlooks. I first heard about the ideas of introvert and extrovert during my introduction to psychology in college. Finally, there was something that made sense to me. I was not an exception to humankind, I just processed the world differently. 

I am not your typical student affairs professional. I am not loud. I am not effervescent. I am not excessively animated. I am not desperate for attention.

So what does an introvert do in an openly extroverted profession? 

“We don’t need giant personalities to transform companies. We need leaders who build not their own egos but the institutions run.” 

I chose my profession because I love the connections I make with students and helping them succeed. True, my job does require me to be regularly extroverted, however it is my natural tendencies as an introvert that that make me great at my job. 

In Susan Cain’s work, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, you are shown the evolution of character in western society, how the introverted mind works, and how introverts have and can succeed passed their extroverted counterparts. 

Anyone who feels that their introversion hinders them should read this book. Susan Cain brings an abundance of personal experiences matched with data and research.