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An Introvert’s Guide to ALA Girls State

As my three hour drive from Baton Rouge to Natchitoches came to a close, my nerves began to rise more and more. But I wasn’t worried about being far from home, sleeping in the dorms, or not winning my elections. No, I was the most worried about making friends.

     As an introvert, Girls State can be challenging. Throwing yourself into a room of hundreds of strangers isn’t easy, but I promise that you’ll get through it. The first lunch of the program, I sat in silence listening intently to the conversations occurring around me but too afraid to join in. I was almost on the verge of tears, convinced that I would go through the whole week isolated and dejected. However, after just a few more hours, I could tell that my fears would not come into fruition.

     If you’re an introvert thinking of joining Girls State, here’s what you need to know:

1. It’ll be scary, but that’s okay.

You can’t help feeling scared, but you can help your reaction to that fear. My biggest advice is to feel the fear and do it anyways. Scared of giving a speech? Do it anyways. Scared of talking to people at meals? Do it anyways. Pushing through is the best way to make sure that you are putting into Girls State all that you can.

2. Start conversations

It sounds harder than you think. Just start by asking everyone you encounter what their name is, and the conversation will flow from there. Soon enough, you’ll know a bunch of people who you can talk to when you’re feeling lonely and who will be more likely to vote for you in your elections.

3. Don’t give up hope on the first day

The first day will always be the worst. If you can get through Day #1, I promise everything else will be A-okay. Just push through!

4. Be okay with the up’s and down’s 

Elections can be hard! You’ll get first place in one election and then last in another in the span of only an hour, but don’t take the losses too hard. The most important thing is that you tried. After all, your best is all that you can do. 

     Girls State is the place for everyone: extroverts, introverts, and everyone in between. Make the most of it, because it will be over before you know it. What I’m trying to say is that you shouldn’t give up on Girls State just because you might be more introverted than others. I’ve had such a great time, and I’m positive that you will too.

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