Books

Being an Introvert in an Extroverted Society

  
For the longest time I thought I was just socially awkward. Going up and talking to people randomly wasn’t my thing and when I would try to break out of my comfort zone I never knew what to say to people. Small talk seemed really shallow to me and my ability to facilitate a conversation revolving around small talk for an extended period of time is very limited.

On the first Sunday of this new semester, I was sitting in Bible class next to my friend Alex. For a few minutes I was good. I saw people who I knew well or had seen a few times before Bible class, but then the droves of new people started to come in and all of sudden I became tense. My heart instantly started to pound out of my chest.

So I told Alex, “So, I’m an introvert and all these people are kind of freaking me out.”

And what did she say in response…”Did you just call yourself and introvert?”

And to that I said, “Yes, it’s how I explain me to other people.”

I knew I needed to talk to at least some of these people, and don’t get me wrong! I was glad there were so many new students, but there were just so many of them! So, I channeled my pseudo-extrovert and got to meeting and greeting.

With experience and watching how people (a.k.a. extroverts) interact with others, my pseudo-extroverted self has gotten a lot more polished, but for the longest time I would often asked myself how does one “people” and am I the only one who struggles with “peopling”?

How does one people?

Am I the only one who struggles with “peopling”?

It’s not that I hate people. I actually like people and generally, I have a positive perception of most people I meet for the first time. But when I find myself in a new environment or new people and things start to infiltrate the environment I’m used to my anxiety levels spike instantly.

Right now, you might be thinking, “this girl has some serious mental issues” or “something is wrong with her” and I wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking that because I used to think that about myself all the time. But then I started to pick up on the fact that maybe there wasn’t anything wrong with me when I started taking psychology in high school and when I took a personality psychology class last Fall.

And then I read the second greatest book in the world (right behind the Bible) and discovered that I wasn’t mentally ill or an anomaly in society. I found out what I think I had known about myself for a while I just never had a label for it.

The truth is I’m an introvert and Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, helped me realize that there’s nothing wrong with that. 

Cain makes so many great points in this book such as “The Extrovert Ideal” that exists in America and how the corporate and educational worlds are designed specifically to meet the needs and communication styles of extroverts. She also talks about how this “Extrovert Ideal” often hurts the success of students and professionals regardless of their personality type and in turn effects all industries throughout the country. She also provides practical advice on how extroverts can better understand and interact with more cerebral people, but also how introverts can push their own boundaries and take advantage of their strengths and weaknesses in the best ways. And she does all of this without knocking the value that extroverts add to our society.

In her thoroughly researched book, Cain bundles some of the greatest personality psychology discoveries made on the dichotomous personality types all into one perfect package.

So, if you haven’t guessed it, then I would recommend everyone read this book because all introverts would like to know they aren’t alone and all extroverts would benefit from understanding a little bit about the introverts in there lives. 

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Books

The Twelve Year Struggle of Reading Harry Potter

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Classes have started back (Boomer Sooner!) and this semester is already packing a punch! My mornings start with getting up at 7 a.m. to get ready for 8:30 and 9 a.m. classes and from there I feel like I start a new marathon everyday. From class to strategically squeezing in windows of time for homework to going to meetings for PRSSA and Lindsey + Asp and going to Sooner Servants stuff, I find myself turning into a pumpkin around 10:30…and 11 if I’m lucky. All I can say is this week has been a whirlwind and this semester will probably be insane!

Speaking of insane and new happening in the life of Candace Hinnergardt, I had to get another blog for my PR publications class **cue eye roll** so if you’re interested in following the projects I’m doing in that class you can check out candacehinnergardt.oucreate.com because one can never have too many blogs I guess.

Now, to things I’d much rather spend my free time writing about: I FINISHED THE HARRY POTTER SERIES THIS WEEK!!!!!!! It was a 12 year endeavor that took multiple attempts, but I can say I powered through and finally discovered what all the hype was about.

Harry Potter

Yes, you read correctly. It took me 12 years to finally finish one the most popular series of our time and possibly of all time. I read The Sorcerers Stone in third grade and quite honestly I struggle through it. At that time I was a very particular reader and Harry Potter wasn’t exactly in line with my taste. I remember having to re-checkout the book multiple times before I finished it.

And then I went on an eight year long hiatus from the series until I decided to put on my big girl pants and pick up the series once again. At this point, I was 16 or 17 years old and most of my friends couldn’t believe I had never read all the Harry Potter books so the summer between my junior and senior years of high school, I buckled down and read books two through four…but then I started the fifth book, The Order of the Phoenix and you can probably guess what happened next…

I didn’t finish it. I read about 150 pages and I was done. This time Harry’s teen angst and bitterness about every aspect of his situation (though I recognize that he had a lot to be bitter about) just about drove me bonkers. Let’s just say I was lucky to get to 150 pages.

Now, fast forward about four more years to Spring 2015. I’m not sure when exactly I decided to make it my Summer 2015 goal to finish the series, but it had something to do with my travel study. Once I got back from the United Kingdom, I started looking for ways to drag out the magic of the trip and the excitement of seeing what I had only seen on TV before. Naturally, I started watching a lot more BBC shows on Netflix and I decided that I would read the rest of the Harry Potter series this summer. And I did! So YAY for goals and international travel that inspire you to make goals!

In hindsight, this is a series I would definitely suggest especially if you’re a parent looking for a series that will grow with your child. The first few books are very much geared for elementary aged children. They’re more lighthearted and fun and Harry, Ron and Hermione seem to find themselves in the craziest predicaments. As the series goes on, J.K. Rowling does some amazing things with the writing and the overall story. With each book, the story grows just a little bit darker and the writing structure becomes more advanced and sophisticated. It’s also a fairly clean series with valuable life lessons woven into the narrative about genuine love and true strength.

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Books

Review: A History of London in 100 Places

My best friend Nicole always tells me that I am a master book recommender. I love reading and anyone who thrives off of the words of others like myself has read some amazing books…and then they’ve read some not so amazing ones. There’s nothing more disheartening then picking up a book expecting great things only to be tragically let done…sounds a bit like relationships, right? Well, any reader extraordinaire will tell you that reading a book is like making a new acquaintance or even stepping into a new life of your own. In any form of entertainment, there is a willing suspension of disbelief–it’s when you know what you’re seeing on the TV or big screen or reading from a book or e-reader is not real, but you let your imagination indulge in it anyway. We let ourselves become a part of the stories in a variety of ways from emotional investment to feeling like we are actually part of the story. That’s why we have fan fiction, book clubs, theme parks and crazed fans. As the audience of many stories, we will do anything to become more deeply embedded into a story.

By trial and error you find the good books and the bad books. You find what you like and don’t like in a book or genre. You also find what genres you like and don’t like.  You find the stories into which you are willing take that leap of faith. However, for those who don’t read that often or simply want to expand their reading palette, I always try to save those individuals the trouble, time and possibly money involved in this trial and error process of picking up a book that is sub-par or just straight up awful if we’re being honest.

This willing suspension of disbelief can be obtained in any genre in both the fiction and non-fiction realms. In general, people long to become a part of the stories of people, places, ideas, movements and times in history regardless of the truth behind it…and recently, I’ve taken a vested interest in non-fiction worlds.

One of the things I like to do when I go to new places is buy a book about it or that has something to do with it. I don’t always end up getting a book about the town, state or country I’m visiting, but I usually come away with a book regardless. Like I said in my last post, I brought seven books back from Europe. Is it a little over the top? Ehhhhh….maybe. Maybe not. You can decide for yourself, but one of the books I got is called A History of London in 100 Places by David Long.

A History of London in 100 Places

Since I’ve been to London now, I’ve allowed myself to indulge into the captivating and dark stories of this amazing city’s history. This find came from the British Museum and it only took me deeper into the annals of London. The title is self-explanatory: it’s about a 200 page book with one to two page synopses of historically significant landmarks in London. The book takes the reader two thousand years into the past to when it was a Roman town called Londinium all the way up to present day London. From this book, the reader almost gets the experience of a time lapse in word form as Long explains how each site shaped the landscape of London.

Overall, I loved the concept of this book! Long didn’t talk about the typical sites tourists would see when they go to London. When I first started reading A History of London, I expected there to be a lot about places like Elizabeth’s Tower (Big Ben), but that wasn’t the case. Long did mention these iconic locations, but most of the places he wrote about the average person has never heard of. From the historical perspective, I got more than I bargained for, but this book also came with some let downs. Most of these sites you almost can’t even see or visit. Since most of these places can’t be visited today (at least not easily), it was hard for me as a reader to wrap my mind around what Long was trying to say and it quiet honestly sucked some of the fun out of reading it. Though he did provide a map at the beginning showing the reader where these places where, I would have also liked more visual aids (a.k.a. pictures because who doesn’t like a good picture book).

Since I’m not a native Londoner, this book was a little bit difficult to grasp; however, I would definitely recommend this book if you are interested in London history. It’s a great place to start if you just want to know more about this great metropolitan city in general. Also, it’s a great substance read like most things non-fiction are.

If you want to buy A History of London in 100 Places you can go to Amazon or you can stop by the British Museum and pick up your copy while also seeing mummies, the Rosetta Stone and a ton of other super cool artifacts!

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