The Power of Introverts – A TED Talk Breakdown

By: Ashley

For this week’s blog post I chose to do a breakdown of Susan Cain’s TED Talk The Power of Introverts. Susan gave this passionate TED Talk back in February of 2012 and it is a must watch for everyone. Susan starts out the talk with a story about summer camp that she attended as a young girl. She talks about how she brought with her a suitcase full of books because in her family that is what they did together, it was considered a social activity. I have similar experiences with my mother, we would often read books together and discuss them, like a mini book club of sorts, and I too always brought books to summer camp. She continues by saying that they were encouraged to be outgoing, rowdy, and social at camp and that when she pulled out her books she was asked why she was being so mellow and it was implied that she wasn’t showing camp spirit. The message seemed to be that being quiet wasn’t the right way to go, that she needed to be more extroverted and so she put her books away for the summer and oddly enough she felt guilty about doing so. That message carried on into adulthood where she became a lawyer just to prove that she could be bold and assertive even though deep down she wanted to be a writer. Next she says something that I thought was really interesting; as many of you fellow introverts probably understand, we often put ourselves in situations that aren’t ideal, we go to crowded bars and hit up parties even though we would rather be at home or having a quiet dinner with friends, we do this to appease those around us and to seem “normal.” Susan says that this making of introverts into extroverts is not only a loss to ourselves but also a loss to the world. Introverts, like extroverts, respond optimally when they are in the right environment, different stimulations bring out different results. Where an extrovert shines in social situations, an introvert may require more freedom to work independently before revealing their ideas. But this need for freedom and solitude often gets the introvert’s idea passed over for someone more vocal, or extroverted.

Power of introverts

She then goes on to tell about how nowadays we have a bias for extroverts over introverts. This bias can be seen in classrooms and workplaces. Students now work in pods and perform copious amounts of group projects, even in subjects like math and creative writing. Often it has been observed that the ideal student is seen as an extrovert, whereas introverts can often be seen as troubled children. The open concept office has taken away the ability for alone time, which is crucial for introverts. She says this shift in favor of the “man of action” over the “man of contemplation” has to do with the change from an agricultural economy to a world of big business. You know the best talker isn’t necessarily the one with the best ideas. She says that there is a need for a better cultural balance between introverts and extroverts, we need collaboration but in order for us introverts to come up with our own unique solutions to problems we need more freedom to be ourselves. Often introverts feel guilty because they want to be alone, even though some of the greatest thinkers have needed to be alone and have done incredible things, but coupled with this solitude the collaborative piece will always be needed. Susan makes it very clear that she doesn’t hate extroverts. I too love extroverts as I live with a very vibrant one. I don’t think the point of the TED Talk is to shame extroverts. I think it is to tell the world what all us introverts are thinking. Let us do our thing and you will be astounded.

She closes her talk with 3 calls for action I absolutely loved, here they are:

  1. Stop the madness for constant group work – I 100% agree with this one, I think that learning to work together is important but I also think it is just as important to learn to work independently.
  2. Go to the wilderness, unplug, and get inside your own head – this is fantastic. I think it is so easy to forget who we are these days with social media and the ability of anonymity on the internet, that it is healthy to get away from it all and get inside your own head. Have an epiphany like Susan talks about.
  3. Take a good look inside your own suitcase – use what is in it and open it up to others, the world needs you and what you carry. This is a wonderful statement because what is in your suitcase is who you are and who you are is nothing to be ashamed of. My suitcase would be filled with Tolkien novels, horror movies, and a subscription to Scientific American. My question to you is: what’s in your suitcase?

Lastly, Susan sends everyone off by saying “I wish you the best of all possible journeys and the courage to speak softly” and I think that quote is beautiful. We live in a society that prizes outgoing and energized individuals and Susan makes a case for those of us who are quiet and contemplative. I encourage everyone to watch Susan Cain’s TED Talk because it is entertaining as well as informative.

Of Possible Interest: 

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The Last Semester: The Bottomless Abyss that is Life After Graduation

By: Glen

It’s my last semester of school at UMD, and lots of things are changing right before my eyes. So much has changed, that my usual response to “How are you doing?” has switched from something like, “great,” “excellent,” and “fantastic,” to something along the lines of, “ehhhh,” “I’m alive,” or “hanging in there.”

As it turns out, there are certain tasks you have to get done in order to graduate, such as passing classes. Additionally, there are tasks you must complete in the same time frame, such as getting a job, or finding a place to live. Here are a couple of the stressors I am facing as a college senior, for your reading pleasure.

Bottomless abyss

Getting a Job

It’s April now, and some places have already hired college seniors for upcoming jobs. If you end up in this category, you win the game I like to call, “Senior-ing” (you’ve done a great job of being a college senior!).

Other places are in the swing of the hiring process. If you’ve got interviews in place, but no job, it’s a bit stressful. Yet, a solution can appear soon, so keep your chin up!

Some places have not yet even posted the job openings yet. I’ll tell you what: There is nothing worse than knowing there is(are) job(s) you want to apply for, knowing it’s April, and they haven’t been able to post the openings yet. You just want to know where you will need to live; you want to know how much money you are making; and you want to stop searching for jobs! I would be lying if I told you I was in a different situation than this one. It just so happens that this leads to the next big stressor of college seniors (as experienced by Glen).

Finding a Living Location (Sometimes referred to as a “House” or an “Apartment”)

Alright, do you want to live with anyone? Where do you want to live? How will you pay for said living space? At first, I was among many people I knew that wanted to move to a different place, maybe with some friends of mine, with a brand-new sparkly job. If I get completely blown away by an offer, I might relocate. However, I am really leaning heavily toward finding a location that I am comfortable in, with people I am excited to live with.

“Why? This is the time of your life to keep moving on and upward with your life!” I’ve thought about that, but I have also reflected a bit on my own life values. Reflecting on my senior year so far, I haven’t done many “exciting” things. I am okay with that, but I also felt a sense of impending doom all year because of the large numbers of projects I have to complete. Right now, I am okay with scoring a job, and taking a year to myself to gear up for what is next in life. I would advise taking time to find what is comfortable for you after graduation. Are you okay with making a plan on where to live and sticking to it? Do you have the opportunity to sit back and get things figured out before you determine a living space? Where do you really want to live? Who do you want to live with?

So, yes, there are a lot of things to think about, and it is stressful when things do not work out perfectly right away. My hope is for you to be able to read these events in my own life, and be able to ask yourself the same questions about life after graduation. It’s extremely stress inducing, but if you take the time to think things through regularly, you can save yourself some stress later. “No pain, no gain!”

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Photo source: Lou Levit

3 Tips to Finding a Volunteer Experience to Benefit Your Major

Consider why you want to volunteer:

People volunteer for all sorts of reasons. Some are required to do it for a class, some may volunteer to use as a resume builder, and some may just want to get more involved in their community and help make positive changes. It might be a combination of all of these things. No matter if you’re aspiring to end world hunger, or just volunteering to get a good grade in class, you’ll be doing good and doing it for a reason that is right for you.

Choose an organization meaningful to you:

In my mind, why would you want to waste your time doing something that doesn’t mean anything to you? Think about issues you feel strongly about and build off of that. For example, if you think education and literacy is important, find volunteer opportunities that revolve around tutoring. Do some research and find an organization in your community whose mission is in line with your own values. There are a million different organizations with different purposes, so if spending your time at a soup kitchen doesn’t sound appealing, try an animal shelter, hospital, city park, or nursing home. My advice is don’t ever settle. Take your time finding something you enjoy rather than just agreeing to the first thing that comes along.

Seek out an organization to suit your skills and interests:

When I started seeking out place to volunteer, I was overwhelmed with the amount of places available. One thing that helped me narrow down my decision was looking at organizations that seemed interesting to me. I tried to find something that seemed do-able with the skills I already have, something in tune with my field of education, and somewhere that seemed fun. The key here is finding something compatible with your interests and skill set. For example, if you’re outgoing, and consider yourself a “people person,” you might not have very much fun doing something like sitting in an office and filing papers. Ask yourself basic questions such as: Do I like to work with people? With children? Animals? or Do you prefer to work by yourself? If you aren’t really sure what you like or dislike, volunteering is a great way to find these things out. Volunteering is like sampling dishes at the deli, it lets you dabble in a little bit of everything until you find what you like.

Getting Started:

Volunteer Opportunities:

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Tips for Your Teaching Resume

By: Whitney

As a teacher candidate, you might have several positions that sound very similar before you get experience such as student teaching or even your first full-time position. You might have done some assessing or behavior management,  which are great to put on a resume, but since you aren’t taking over the classroom yet. It can be challenging to show all of your experiences without being too repetitive. The following is an example of one way you can avoid this problem as pictured on page 33 of the Career Handbook.

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 10.32.03 AM

By combining your positions as a classroom volunteer or a practicum student teacher as pictured above you can give employers the gist of what you did while saving room for other positions you have held, without being too repetitive. If you have two experiences that are very different from one another, this method is not the best option because you likely have very different things to say about each position. For instance, this semester my practicum experience is in a classroom that is 1:1 with iPads. This experience looks VERY different than some of my past experiences where I have been in a very low tech school and in a lower grade. Since these positions are so different, and I would like to highlight how I have used technology in the classroom in my latest experience combining experiences as shown above, is not the best option for my resume.

If you do choose to set up your resume in this way, I would recommend you set it up by similar age groups because assessment and behavior management techniques look very different for kindergarten as compared to 6th grade. I would also recommend to split out special education and general education experiences as these experiences will likely look very different. When using these techniques you may have to be a little more generic with your wording so that it fits with the positions. For instance going off the example above, I wouldn’t say that I worked with three students with a specific learning disability because that statement wouldn’t be true for all positions. Instead, you would list it as the example states above (Assisted teachers in providing consistent classroom management according to individual behavioral needs and plans.) because this is likely accurate information for all of the positions you have listed.

When talking about your student teaching experience, consider having this be a separate description and possibly even give it it’s own section. This is because you spend a lot more time in the classroom when you are student teaching. You also have more responsibility and control over the classroom so this is information you will want to highlight on your resume.

Other really great information pieces to include on your resume are specific details such as whether or not you have done behavioral or academic interventions, stating specific disability groups you have worked with content area topics you have taught, or specific strategies you have used such as guided math, flipped learning, or gamification.

If you can give any data with information such as an intervention, this could make you stand out in a group of applicants, especially if you were successful. If you weren’t successful, this could be a great talking point while in an interview. You could discuss what you tried, what didn’t work, and where you went from there.

By combining similar positions on your resume you can not only reduce repeating yourself over and over, but you can also save yourself space for other positions that are related that you would like to have on your resume. If you choose not to combine positions, make sure you are choosing facts about each position that make it different from the ones you already have on your resume. By spreading out the descriptions you likely do in all experiences, you can give solid descriptions of what you did at each one rather than having your resume be generic. While things like assessment and behavior management are important, so are skills such as using technology and interventions. Make sure that you hit all of these skills in your resume rather than just telling them information that you think employers want to hear. Remember, you want to make yourself stand out by highlighting what kind of teacher you are and where you are going to go in the future!

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Confessions of an Ambivert, Part 2

By: Logan

In my first Confessions of an Ambivert post I talked about how I found out that I was an ambivert, and I wanted to know more about it. I was curious to see how being an ambivert may affect a person in different social situations. This blog post will talk about how ambiverts function in the work environment, and it will teach you how to collaborate with an ambivert in the workplace.

Ambivert 2

When thinking about the work environment most people would argue that being an extravert would be the most beneficial personality trait. Many believe that being very outgoing and talkative is the most useful skill in the workplace. I did a bit of researching and found that this may not be entirely true. In fields like business it could actually be beneficial to be an ambivert. An example would be the area of sales. Adam Grant, a tenured professor at the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania, challenged the assumption that extraverts make the best salespeople in his study, where he surveyed and collected three months of sales records for over 300 salespeople. What he found was that, on a scale from one to seven (one and two being least extroverted; six and seven being extremely extroverted), people who were right in the middle — the threes, fours, and fives — brought in the most sales revenue over three months: In that three month period, ambiverts made 24% more in sales revenue than introverts and 32% more in revenue than extroverts. Many people are reluctant to believe this. How could an ambivert be more successful than an extravert? Grant explains this by stating: “It is possible this is explained by a positive effect of enthusiasm at low and moderate levels of extroversion, which is outweighed by the negative effect of assertiveness at high levels of extroversion.” Another study will be needed to test this hypothesis, he adds. You can see the whole article on his study on the Forbes website.

Experts say that ambiverts will be very successful because of how they interact with others using communication. Many people believe that extraverts talk too much and listen too little, and introverts are less likely to be confrontational, and they can be too shy. This is where ambiverts excel, because they are a combination of both. Ambiverts have social skills and can communicate well, but they know when to listen and when to talk. It is common to have extremely animated and interactive conversations, or mellow and meditative ones. Ambiverts love spending time with people, but get tired after spending too much time around people. They are also very capable of doing things alone, but spending an entire day alone can put them into a unproductive mood. Ambiverts process information best when they process internally and externally, they need time and space to process things on their own, but they also need people who they can trust to process things with externally. In order for ambiverts to fully process information, they usually need both. They also seek breadth of knowledge and influence, and dive deep when they are truly passionate.

There are many positive aspects of being an ambivert. Ambiversion was proven to be helpful in the workplace and in social relationships in general. Now that you know how ambiverts communicate and function, you will be better prepared to interact or work with them. I was very content with the research I conducted. I learned a lot about it, but I am curious to learn how it could affect individuals in other situations. I hope that in the future the general public is more knowledgeable and understanding of ambiverts.

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Photo Source: Jeff Sheldon|Unsplash

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday

Happy Friday! We hope that everyone is surviving the intense month of April. Just want to share some of the awesome articles we’ve shared over on Twitter over the past couple weeks, just in case you missed them. Enjoy!

Photo Source: Tom Lefebvre|Unsplash

The Katy Perry Guide to Picking Your Major

By: Willow

If you are anything like me (and for your sake I hope you are because I’m awesome) you have had a lot of trouble picking a major. It’s hard. How do you know what you want to be forever, when you’re 18? I sure don’t and you know who else doesn’t? A lovely little lady by the name of Katy Perry. The following is a guide to picking a major, according to the one and only Katy P.

Katy Perry Choosing Major

First thing to do when you’re thinking about a college major is to consider what you love. Don’t focus on a career, focus on what you love.

Use Your Love

After you figure out what you love, figure out who you love. Maybe you love teaching, but hate people under the age of 12, then you’ll probably want to go into secondary education rather than elementary ed. I think too often we think only about what we want to do and not who we want to do it with. Both are important.

Who Am I Living For?

Try everything you’re interested in. Maybe you think you want to be a geologist but that one class in Native American Studies made you decide otherwise. You’ll never know if something is right for you until you try. It’s far better to take an extra class than spend your whole life wondering if you would have been better off as a professional actress.

The One That Got Away

Remember no one has the right to judge you on what you like. If you want to create your own super specific major that no one else understands, do it. Don’t let anyone make you feel like a plastic bag, if you only knew what your future holds, after a hurricane comes a rainbow. You’ll figure it all out, I promise, don’t listen to the people who tell you not to do what you love.


I think it’s very true when people say if you find something you truly love you never work a day in your life. Find that. Find what you love unconditionally, and never let it go.


It’s really ok to change your mind, there is no harm in it at all. This may be during your undergrad years, or later in your career. My mom has a bachelor’s degree in Music Education and now works in Human Resources. My dad has a PhD in Palynology (the study of pollen) and now owns a poultry farm.

Hot N Cold

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