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How can I learn to be empathetic, confident and outgoing in college.

#pre-med #july20 #july #college

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John’s Answer

Nga going to a new school, starting a new class doesn’t have to be stressful, EVERYONE in your Freshman classes are just like YOU. Keep it light start off with joke "Are You New Here?"

IT’S AS EASY AS SAYING HI
When you walk into class, pick a seat right next to somebody else. Yes, there will probably be a lot of seats open, but this is an easy way to get out of your comfort zone and be a little more social. If you sit next to somebody and introduce yourself, you’re already coming off as more outgoing and friendly. You’re also letting the other person know that you are willing to get to know them.

WEAR A CONVERSATION STARTER
Wear something that your classmates can easily comment on, such as a pin, scarf or unusually large watch. Sports jerseys almost always trigger a conversation, example: "Ohhh are you Dallas Cowboy Fan?"

IT’S A TWO WAY CONVERSATION
Compliment the individual on their smile, their great handbag or ask them how to get to the library, now made a connection and should continue asking the person they are new on campus also? Showing that you are interested in others is almost always perceived as a positive—and showing your interest shows that you are taking an interest in them. That person might even be shy, like you and they are really happy you made the introduction.

YOU’VE GOT TO EAT
If you’re having lunch, and want to chat with someone you might have your eye on, discussing food and drinks is a great way to break the ice. Food creates social bonds and self-expression, it’s no surprise that food ranks as one of the top topics of conversation. Another good ice breaker is to ask them about their weekend.

BE PART OF THE GROUP
Don’t be afraid to join a conversation. If a group of people in class is talking about their favorite TV show, they probably won’t be mad if you join in. Group conversations are the easiest to navigate because you don’t always have to be the one talking. You can chime in when something pops into your head, but you don’t have to worry if you can’t think of anything to say.

IT STARTS WITH BEING A GOOD LISTENER
A lot of times people get anxious because they are thinking too much about how to start a conversation or what to say next. If you’re too focused on what to say, you might miss a good opportunity to expand on the conversation because you weren’t actually listening to what the other person was saying. Listening to the other person is the best way to keep a conversation flowing.

YOU’VE ALREADY HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON
If you’re a shy person, putting yourself out in the open can definitely be a daunting task. A little nervousness is normal, but don’t push yourself too hard to where you feel extremely uncomfortable. Take small steps and build yourself up to where you want to be. The more you do it, the more confident you will become.

Nga becoming a more outgoing person is something that takes time and effort. You can’t expect to become a social butterfly in just a couple of days. The important part is that you continue to work at it and, of course, HAVE FUN. Good luck out there.

Hope this was Helpful Nga

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Sydney’s Answer

I think you're already taking those first steps in asking yourself how you can accomplish these goals and become the person you'd like to be.
Not everyone is an empath but I think the first thing to it would be listening, truly and actively listening and allowing yourself to feel everything they are feeling. There's empathetic and sympathetic. Sympathetic is like hearing bad news and telling your friend "well at least..." but empathetic is saying "I'm so sorry this happened, this must be so hard for you" It's about allowing yourself to realize how difficult the situation may be for someone. Most people struggle with not giving advice and just listening to someone else.

I think to achieve being outgoing is by also being courageous, you must put yourself out there and not be afraid to make a fool of yourself.

And by being more courageous you'll slowly become more confident.

Truthfully, I am a college student and still am working through these things but I guess here are somethings I've learned/done along the way to aid me in this.

I would suggest this book called 5-minute Journal, this book gives you the same prompt everyday and it actually is very beneficial, it helped me gain some confidence and feel more in balance with life. It helps you think about things in your life to be grateful for and things that you can appreciate about yourself.
I think learning what I wanted more succinctly in my social life helped. I realized I really enjoy closer relationships/friendships as they allow me to feel more comfortable to be who I am rather than in a big group setting.
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Simeon’s Answer

I find it's best to develop those skills by immersing yourself into a small group or club. You'll be able to practice lots of soft skills within the group and have the opportunity to seek out a leadership position. Also, keep an eye out for groups like Toast Masters where you can build confidence with public speaking skills as well.
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James’s Answer

hi Nga,

i graduated medical school over a quarter century ago. however, i recall vividly how difficult it was to transform from an introverted bookworm into a trusted medical advisor.

science is such a bedrock for a medical career that you can easily forget that it's also an art. and the qualities you've identified are essential to developing that art.

every few years i read an article about how there's a big push to change the med school entrance requirements, curriculum, or both. changes that will deemphasize science and produce more holistic physicians. however, those changes are eventually watered down until they end up being just incremental. one of the reason is that, unfortunately, it's much easier to measure science knowledge than "soft" qualities.

you're in good company with feeling deficient in these areas. i think most of my classmates would identify with you. of course, there will always be those who make quality human interactions look sooo easy.

you first need to understand that it's a long process. there's not one magic trick to it and nothing comes overnight. just like with learning any other skill you'll need to constantly think about and practice it.

confidence comes from having been in a certain situation before and doing well in it. the more times you've been in that situation the more confident you'll be.

the general approach that works best is to intentionally put yourself in situations where you're forced to use some of these talents. some of the other commenters here have offered excellent suggestions. i second the idea of volunteering for a hospice. other goods volunteering ideas would be at a nursing home or at a children's hospital.

other things you might consider to force you into using these skills:

presentations in front of groups,
stage acting for a community theatre,
stand-up comedy,
a magic act,
retail sales.

just a side note on that last one. i held very few jobs in high school and college. i much preferred to read, take classes, and study. but in medical school i grew to envy those students who had held jobs where they had to interact with customers. they had already developed their body language, speech, and a personal manner. this got them much farther when interacting with patients while i stammered and sweated.

an important thing you'll need to come to terms with in all of this is failure. we all fail. sometimes often. sometimes spectacularly. but you'd much rather fail now, in a situation like the ones mentioned, rather than fail when the consequences are much graver.

lastly, i'm going to leave you with some words to live by. during the book learning phase of med school you'll frequently hear from the lecturers a phrase attributed to Hippocrates concerning the proper role of a doctor.

"To cure sometimes, to treat often, to comfort always."

i urge you to write that down somewhere and refer to it daily, especially during those times when you feel beaten, or intimidated, or inadequate. good luck!

James recommends the following next steps:

search for volunteer opportunities that involve patient or customer interaction
speak with your college's health professions counselor
find mentors in your chosen field and solicit their suggestions
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Alycia’s Answer

Nga, I LOVE this question!

Nine times out of ten pre-med students overlook the soft skills needed to become a physician when they decide to bulk up their resume and gain experience. I am very proud that a high school student like yourself is focusing on something so vital to becoming a healthcare provider. I'm assuming you're asking how to become these things because you aren't empathetic, confident, or outgoing in the first place, or you want to brush up on those attributes about yourself.

Now if you want to utilize these experiences and put them on your resume, I would start out by seeking positions that force you to take on these characteristics. For example: if you want to be viewed as empathetic, try to look for a job centered around underserved/underprivileged communities. In high school, I spent almost fours years volunteering in a skilled nursing facility that specialized in hospice care. This means I was surrounded by terminally-ill (mainly elderly) patients. Every week I would host recreational activities for them, interview incoming patients, and just spend time with them. I was already an empathetic person to begin with, but this experience made me realize how a large group of people in the US are overlooked and treated poorly-- simply because they have less time on this earth. I was saddened by this revelation-- however it made me stronger. From then on, I vowed to advocate for any patient in need of palliative or hospice care, and treat any elderly person with respect and dignity they deserved. I am positive there will be a convalescent center in your area that needs young people like you for help.

As for building confidence and becoming outgoing, I still need to work on that myself! It really is an ongoing process when it comes to your mental health. However, I do think there many ways you could build your confidence during your college experience: surround yourself with people who share the same interests, culture, etcetera. Joining a club with like-minded people who validate your feelings will do wonders.

I wish you luck Nga! Please feel free to message me if you want to learn more about the pre-health track!
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