Online Education: The Best Path for Introverts Like Me

Beth Dumbauld

Online education is great for Introverts By Brittany Hege

The dreaded Class Circle. When you and your peers are forced to rearrange your desks so everyone is facing, well, everyone. Thirty sets of eyes (including the teacher’s) and they’re all on you, or at least that’s what it feels like when you’re shy like me and expected to contribute to class discussions. Gives me the heebie-jeebies just thinkin’ about it! If only I had known about online education, possibly the greatest thing since sliced bread for us quiet, introverted, social-anxiety prone folks. For this group of people, here are the wonderful perks of taking your college courses online.

No deduction of class participation points for “not talking enough.”

At my university, as much as 30% of my grade was determined solely on class participation. I still remember my freshman year writing professor addressing the class with “For those of you who haven’t contributed anything at all and don’t talk, now is the time. Your grade is riding on it.” He was obviously talking to me. And I hated him for that. If I’d just enrolled in an online course, say with StraighterLine, my grade would have been determined by the quality of my writing assignments instead of my talking (or lack thereof) in the classroom. I mean, I like talking, but not when I’m forced to chitchat about a subject I may or may not really care about. And in front of a large group? Forget about it.

No socially uncomfortable surprises like “break into groups.”

Don’t you hate when the teacher springs that on you? As if you didn’t already want to crawl into a hole or at least the corner of the room, now you’re expected to find, not one, but several partners in a class of about thirty kids. This part always made me nervous. I never knew where to stand or what to do or who to approach. I usually just waited for someone to pick me. With online education, you don’t have to worry about any of these things. You’re free to work independently from the comfort of your own home, local coffee shop, or anywhere else that has public Internet access. It’s an introvert’s dream come true! A smart, money-conscious introvert, at that. I’d tip my hat to you, but, like I said, I’m a pretty shy gal.

No being embarrassed in front of your entire class.

And that’s not all. How about when a professor calls on you to answer a question that you’re positive everyone else gets and you don’t have a clue? Or the looks from the rest of the class when you keep asking the teacher to explain a particularly tricky concept in Microbiology or Statistics and they just want to move on? With online classes, there’s no embarrassment. No being put on the spot. And you can take as long as you need to figure out the really complicated stuff. Heck, you don’t even have to take the final until you’re ready for it. (Say goodbye to sweaty palms and nails chewed down to the stump.)

Now, I’m not condoning living under a rock. That’s never the healthiest option, regardless of your circumstances. I’m just saying, for shy people like me who never liked school and froze in front of teachers and peers, online courses with StraighterLine might be the right path. Fellow introverts, feel free to share your personal experiences with online education in the comments section! I won’t bite, I absolutely promise.

About the author . . . . Fresh out of art school and obsessed with digital music, Brittany uses her love of sound to inject her writing with rhythm and just the right amount of rhyme. When she's not tweeting, blogging, or facebooking, she's either at a local concert or playfully poking fun of reality TV stars (and enjoying every second of it).

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One thought on “Online Education: The Best Path for Introverts Like Me”

  • Kristy

    Beth,thank you for this article.It's very much something I need to read at this stage of my life.

    I look back on my school days and just cringe.As a VERY shy introvert who was easily overwhelmed and intimidated by people,I ABSOLUTELY struggled in both primary and high school.I was into Art and English and only thrived when it came to solitary activities/projects.I absolutely adored reading and writing and enjoyed solitude.I just couldn't handle the 'people' aspect of school and greatly feared oral presentations in front of the class.The traditional way of being educated,it seemed,was purely for extraverts with lots of confidence and social skills..I certainly didn't fit in.

    One on one was best for me,but of course this was not the way.I was forced to participate,always encouraged to 'speak up' and constantly ridiculed for being who I was.No wonder I didn't cope well.Academically,I really had potential but due to bullying,shyness and anxiety,I didn't excel at school.

    I'm 35 years old now and am still struggling with being an absolute introvert in a society that just doesn't understand why we are the way we are.I'm a single parent and I love being on my own.I shop on my own,go to the movies on my own and my hobbies are all things I do alone.I'm a little bit social but otherwise I thrive from having regular 'me' time.

    Just yesterday I gave being in a traditional classroom a go after many years.I thought perhaps after a long break of study I'd be okay but I wasn't.AT ALL.There were 11 of us and I'm suprised I lasted the whole day.I just couldn't handle it and resented having so many strangers in my space..just like school.

    Your article is helpful.I think online learning will be the best option for me.I will always be an introvert and I'm slowly excepting that this is who I am.

    Not everyone thrives in an overwhelming classroom full of different personalities,opinions and moods...