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The untold truth about introversion, aka why I wear my headphones too much

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Introversion is a word that’s often used to express a variety of behaviors, whether it’s social reticence or a preference towards more intimate direct conversations, relations or smaller circles, but the one that I feel is most expressive is that while extroverts get more energized by social interaction, introverts get drained by it. Like many of my fellow introverted friends and acquaintances, accepting and dealing with my introversion in a constructive way has been anything but an easy or low-labor journey. My childhood memories of being thought of as “weird” or “different” or “a loner”, are still as clear as they are muddled through the filters of nostalgia, descriptions I’ve received simply because I preferred playing Atari with my best friend over having a soccer match with the kids I’ve never met before. These descriptions persisted up to my adolescent years, descriptions which would consequently cause feelings of shame, isolation, and inferiority over these characteristics, characteristics that were as intrinsic and uncontrollable to me as was anyone’s left-handedness, right-handedness, height or depth of voice.

 

 

Being the competitive person that I am and having been fortunate to grow up in a relatively supportive and nurturing environment, I had been given the knowledge that there was a certain set of characteristics and expectations I would have to meet if I were to get ahead in life (what getting ahead exactly meant in that contexts, or what it exactly means is still a mystery to me). As a result, for the longest time I could remember, I’ve had this fixation on gaining the behaviors and simulating the attributes of my more extroverted peers, whether it’s going out for coffee when I’d rather enjoy a cup of vervain in my bed, or being the first to start the group presentation when I would quite frankly prefer to pass a paper exam.

Of course, after having gone through the great transition of coming to the university, my desire and my effort to simulate such behaviors and to find the social success and acceptance that my peers have gathered, as well as gather the famous/infamous soft skills that every employer require having only increased. And for better or worse, my efforts have been successful as far as getting more involved with clubs and NGOs, pushing me towards becoming a better public speaker, a better mediator and team player on a smaller scale ( I’ll spare you the use of the world leader because of A/ The little value of a word that’s been so used and misused and B/ Because of how cringy it has simply become).

But amid it all, I’ve failed to realize how much of a toll all these attempts and all these activities were taking on me. The “Why are you so alone all the time?” questions were replaced with the “Why are you so tired are all the time?”, “How do you remember so many of the things and information that you’ve read?” turned into “How are you so forgetful of people’s faces and names?”, and many other remarks that grossly oversimplify the situation have followed.

Having been fortunate enough to experience an exchange year in the US and being in a more introverted society, it has been a sort of personal wake up call. While I was at first annoyed at the lesser number of students at DSU, North Dakota, I must admit that it was very refreshing. Gone were the obligations and the FOMO (Fear of missing out) that were engendered by the bigger number of students and activities and clubs, gone was the necessity to try and speak louder over everyone else or even interrupt their words if I ever wanted to be heard. While my adjustment was anything but easy itself, the newly gained freedom from the competition and the self-put obligation to perform and be perceived as extroverted and sociable had been life-changing; Perhaps one of the most obvious things that I never realized I would miss as I was reintegrating back at INSAT was that. Something that I haven’t given much conscious thought to until the very moment I started typing this article.

 

So, is my point here to simply vent and move on? Partially, but an important fact, or at least personal opinion, that I would like to share is that you don’t have to be an extrovert to succeed. It is not necessary to know everyone, be known by everyone, attend every social event there is or be active in every club/organization out there and build your network (the only expression that I find as vomit-inducing as leader) to be able to succeed or prove yourself in life.

 

While one of my personal decisions after going on TJSP was to take some time off to rediscover and maybe rebuild my own personal world that I have neglected with so much focus on the external world, I had still managed to get to know some very interesting people and live some amazing experiences, whether it’s volunteering at best friends ND which has been heart-warming and perspective changing for me, or getting to know professionals and professors from all over the U.S. or in my university who specialized in a variety of fields, people whose input and opinion I value and consider, and all these opportunities were not hindered by my introversion, if anything they were encouraged by my ability to concentrate my energy on these few relationships whether they were with friends or professionals or fellow NGO workers as well as the added value I would put on such relationships.

However, INSAT being such a larger school and my ways of coming back to old habits, as well as some other personal setbacks, I’ve found myself yet again quickly burning out and trying to assume all these characteristics and attributes that were anything but first nature to me. Part of it is that I pride myself in investing in my friendships and close relationships and giving them their part of attention and energy, especially those friends who had been there for me on multiple occasions, and the other part is my desire to build new friendships and relationships which will help me continue the years I have left in INSAT as well as the years to come, and maybe it’s picking the ones to invest in, especially with such a large number of people each of which has such a distinctive story and personality to offer, becomes easier said than done.

But I’ve recently found myself reminded of some of the lessons that North Dakota has taught me about the advantages of introversion on a social level, as well as on a personal and professional level, after all the type of focus that introversion has to offer is not only qualitative focus on relationships, but it’s also a focus on other parts of life that don’t necessarily involve interaction and communication. As much as group work and group projects and collaboration, there are still many tasks to be done that don’t necessarily require or involve such collaboration or are even hindered by it. After all, the productivity of a company is inversely correlated to the number of meetings that it plans.

All this isn’t to say that an introvert shouldn’t work on their public speaking or group work or run of the mill social skills, after all, many of the experiences and skills I’ve gained by assuming extravert like characteristics are priceless, this is to say that we as introverts shouldn’t forget who we are and what we’re comfortable with. Assuming characteristics that are not inherent to us isn’t only very tiring and taxing in the long run, it can become a self-effacing practice that can distract us from taking care of our own internal worlds and wellbeing.

 

While many personal-development (the new age term for life coach) would tell you to always push yourself to the limits and get out of your comfort zone, I think your comfort zone exists for a reason, it’s good to challenge yourself and experience new things, but you owe it to yourself to be who you are and what you were meant to be and to accept characteristics and things about oneself which society may deem less than favorable, and this extends beyond the issue of introversion and extraversion in my eyes. I think all of us growing up in this culture and generation (and any culture really) can relate to the fact of negatively being different from the norm in some way, whether it’s something as insignificant as your preference towards metal music and one’s minority philosophical and religious views and beliefs, we owe it to ourselves to say f*** society ( for the lack of a more expressive term) and live our lives on our own terms.

Going back to the article’s title, the reason I’m wearing my headphones more often is that. Plus, I’m completely addicted to Frank Ocean’s Blond album and can’t stop listening to it, especially with the good sound quality that that pair of headphones offers. On a more serious note, as an introvert, I recharge through social breaks and a small way of finding that quietness and that momentary isolation has been my headphones. The idea of unlimited instant interconnectivity can be quite stressful at times, especially with the added stress of school and other obligations, and a good way I’ve found to disconnect was to wear my oversized headphones when I wasn’t communicating with people, something that has been surprisingly stress-alleviating for me.

So yes, if you see me or other introverts wearing headphones at a study hall full of people or abandoning our Facebooks and Instagrams on a trip or event, know that we simply have a different approach to things or we are just taking our time off, we’d love to talk though as long as you approach kindly, and offer us food, extraverts would appreciate that as well.

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Appel à la réflexion : L’ingénierie vous lance un message

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Vous les INSATiens, quelle définition donneriez-vous à l’ingénierie ?

Pour moi l’ingénierie dépasse tous les stéréotypes que l’on peut se faire sur le sujet : « L’ingénierie, c’est un travail d’homme » ou encore « Un ingénieur, c’est sûrement un geek matheux toujours collé derrière son écran ». L’ingénierie se situe au-delà des clichés, car outre l’étymologie et l’histoire pour me donner raison, elle signifie avant tout pour moi  la conception et l’ingéniosité.

L’INGÉNIERIE, une discipline dont l’appellation est si singulière et qui embrasse pourtant toutes les connaissances scientifiques et techniques formelles du monde. Pouvoir étudier un projet, l’administrer, lui appliquer des règles physiques, mathématiques et des sciences plus fondamentales. Ça vous paraît facile ? Essayez donc pour voir !

Si l’ingénierie  a participé au façonnage de l’état moderne, il n’empêche que son utilité a vu le jour dans plusieurs civilisations. L’Égypte Antique, la Grèce Antique, les Romains…Toutes ces civilisations ont vu grandir des créations inconcevables pour si peu de temps et de matière à portée de main. Comment a-t-on pu créer l’originelle pyramide égyptienne, la pyramide de Djéser, ou encore l’éolipyle, la première machine à vapeur au monde ?

Rassurez-vous, mon but n’est pas de vous ennuyer aujourd’hui en vous étalant toutes les informations présentes sur Wikipédia mais de vous emmener dans un voyage vers le passé, le présent et l’avenir, vous faire aimer ou non ce qui sera votre futur métier. Une seule clé en main qui me vient à l’esprit, le personnifier. Oui, ma décision est de rendre vivant ce qui vous a vous-même rendu vivants.

Sans elle, nul n’aurait imaginé le monde d’hier ou de demain. Le premier qui a osé lui faire honneur est celui qui vous a fait la plus grande des faveurs. Un seul mot a suffi pour vous ouvrir les portes des domaines les plus improbables, le militaire, l’agriculture, le civil et j’en passe.  En bien ou en mal, pour la guerre ou pour la santé, elle vous a agrandi comme vous a ruiné.

L’ingénierie est l’intrus qui dès qu’il entre dans votre vie, vous ne pouvez plus vous en passer. Rien que dans les plus petits sujets, elle a son mot à dire. Elle manipule, elle promeut,  elle encourage ceux qui vous font du mal ou vous laissent perplexes, comme cette électricité statique qui vous punit d’éclairs furtifs lorsque vous vous rapprochez trop vite de quelqu’un.

Aujourd’hui, elle vous change tous sans exception.  Elle est impatiente, elle veut à tout prix accélérer votre monde, vous rendre robots, drones et autres. Elle veut vous aider en prenant votre place pour que vous puissiez vous occuper de ceux que vous aimez. Elle ne veut plus que vous ne touchiez à rien, elle veut être présente partout, tout le temps.

Elle veut vous faire rêver comme dans Inception, vous faire explorer vos plus sombres secrets, vous aider à surmonter vos peurs les plus suffocantes ou vous pousser à toucher le Saint Graal. C’est une guerrière. Elle veut briser les barrières de l’inconnu. C’est une musicienne. Elle veut créer la parfaite harmonie entre votre conscient et subconscient. Je vous l’ai dit, elle est une manipulatrice. Elle veut les rendre lucides, ces rêves, changer leur scénario, y inviter d’autres comme vous.

Vous pensez certainement qu’elle pourrait résoudre tous vos blêmes psychologiques, qu’elle donnerait la main à tout le monde, même aux plus faibles ? Qui pourrait me garantir qu’elle n’est nullement une usurpatrice, que tout ce que j’ai écrit jusque-là ne sont que des leurres ?

Demain, ses partisans iront au défi de l’éthique, ils ne reculeront devant rien pour créer quelqu’un de mieux que vous, votre surhomme. Leur projet ultime serait d’atteindre l’apothéose, la pérennité des Dieux. Vous ne pouvez ou ne voulez pas raisonner en leur faveur. C’est compréhensible mais il n’en reste pas moins que c’est possible. Certes, Il n’est pas dans l’absolu qu’elle puisse soigner votre vieillesse car l’avenir est incertain mais vous vous y accrochez. Vous vous y accrochez dur comme fer car vous voulez l’immortalité de ce qu’elle crée, de la matière qu’elle assemble et rassemble.

Alors oui, elle voulait vous aider au départ, vous tendre la main, mais vous, ingrats que vous êtes, vous en voulez trop. Vous voulez la vie de Rick et Morty, les existences alternatives, les paradoxes de la réalité et tout ce qui suit mais pour moi, il ne me vient que l’image d’un crime qu’elle a commis, la perte de l’humanité.

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