Grab that opportunity with both hands!

Being shy is more serious than some people may think. I’m not saying that it is in any way comparable to other more serious problems that might affect your learning, but it is to some extent a big problem for many people.

I thought I had got past using ‘being shy’ as an excuse for everything. When I was younger it was much worse but now I’m 19 I thought I had overcome it. I had a retail job for three years working with the public all the time that really helped me get better at talking to people. I have moved miles away from home and am now going into my second year of university; that also helped. I was, in a way, forced to forget about being shy and make friends or face being very lonely.

I was relatively confident now I knew meeting new people wasn’t as scary as I once thought, but still I missed out on a great opportunity when I was again faced with the massive burden of being too shy.

As part of my first year assignments at university, we had to secure a work experience placement for at least a week. I sent out so many emails (I still haven’t conquered talking to people confidently over the phone) to so many magazine publications, both local and global. I did get a bit disheartened when I had no replies from anyone, and it seemed like everyone else in my seminar group had already secured their work placements. Then one day I emailed to enquire about work experience at the Sunday Mirror supplement ‘Celebs on Sunday’ which has recently progressed to the new magazine titled ‘Notebook’. The very same day I got a reply, a good reply, I was offered work experience in London for one week. I was over the moon; I couldn’t quite believe my luck. It wasn’t as though it was a little local magazine, it was in partnership with the ‘The Mirror’ so I realised it was a very big opportunity.

The dates were arranged and I was given the relevant information such as times and where to go. On the outside I was really excited, my family were all really proud of me and I knew this would be a great experience to see what the magazine publishing industry is really like. However on the inside I was so scared, I kept going over all the things that could possibly go wrong.

The night before I was due to start work experience I had a total panic. I had already sorted out travel, found my bus stop, worked out how much money I would need. I Google-mapped the building I had to go to; my mum had even bought me a thermal flask for my long trip to London each morning. I completely broke down, I was crying uncontrollably, I didn’t want to go anymore, I didn’t think I could do it, I was so nervous, so shy. In the end, in the spur of the moment through buckets of tears I emailed and said I was unable to complete the work experience arranged, I explained I didn’t feel ready yet. They were fortunately really lovely about it, however I now know just how big of an opportunity I had stupidly turned down. Since then I have continued looking for work experience and had no luck what so ever. One moment of doubt and I threw the entire opportunity away, it has got to be one of my biggest regrets now.

My advice to anyone is if you’re given an opportunity, they sometimes only come around once in a blue moon, so grab it with both hands and take full advantage of it. I wish I did and now I’m struggling, get over that shyness and believe in yourself! You can do it!

Emma Roberts is a 2nd Year Student at Southampton Solent University, studying Magazine Journalism and Feature Writing. You can hear more from Emma here!