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Breaking Out of the Introverted Shell

Do you secretly wish you were a different person? Do you ever wonder if you’d ever change and be the person you wish to be? Well, here, we talk to our Taylorian, Towfiq Jamil about his transformation throughout his journey from being a shy individual in high school and college to becoming an outgoing person in university

What motivated him to change? Keep reading to find out! 

"What were you like back in high school?"

 

“Why are you so quiet?” 

“Why are you so shy?”

“Why do you have such low self-esteem?” 

These were common questions I’d get from my relatives, teachers, and even classmates back in high school. My parents, being politicians, somehow put more pressure on me to be more confident and outspoken. Because of my parents, I was quite well-known to everyone in school. It did come with a lot of privileges but I was just too shy and insecure to take up the opportunities that came with it. I’d just stand in a corner only with friends I’m comfortable with and away from public eyes. Back then, talking to someone new was as scary as seeing a ghost. Even being class president every year didn’t make me an outgoing person. 

After graduating from high school with straight As, I enrolled into college and somehow became more introverted! I spent a lot of my life ignoring people, opportunities, and just preferred being alone. I survived my college life with very few friends. There were times when I’d struggle to understand a lesson and I was still too shy to ask my teacher about it. Just standing up and saying a few words was terrifying. It wasn’t just in high school or college. Because of my parent's public lives, we’d get invited to all sorts of social gatherings and I’d always find an excuse to not go just to avoid social interactions. If there was a competition for the most shy person, I think I’d win very easily.

"How have you changed since you entered tertiary education?"

 

Did I like the way I was? No!

Did I want to change my life around? Yes!  

After joining Taylor’s, everything changed. Being an international student, it was crucial for me to change how I was to survive university and to enjoy it to the fullest. So, I slowly started stepping out of my comfort zone. It didn’t happen overnight. It took time, patience, and effort but I began coming out of my introverted shell and approached people. The more people I reached out to, the more I enjoyed connecting with people. It somehow became an addiction. I began doing everything I escaped from back in high school. 

Extracurricular activities started to seem like a better and easier way to make new friends. My extracurricular journey began by founding Taylor’s Bangladesh Student Society and becoming President, and because of that, I never looked back. I joined many other clubs and societies such as Taylor’s University Student Council, Taylor’s University International Student Council, and Community Service Initiative (CSI).

Back in 2018, I joined Taylor’s SHINE Award Programme and came under the guidance of Senior Administration Executive, Ms. Tasha Thamalagha, who helped me to engage and connect with more Taylorians from different backgrounds. She inspired me to take up more leadership roles and achieve more things at the same time. 

I was then motivated to do things outside of Taylor’s as well. I’ve been working with an NGO called Inclusive Outdoor Classroom, which works for special needs children, for more than 2 years. I’m also trying to be involved with more communities that need the help of young people.

The more I do, the more I love being the person I am today. That shy, introverted kid, who wouldn’t even dare to talk to someone new, is now doing things to change his life around. It wasn’t easy, but I had support from my friends and peers. 

"What motivated you and why did you feel the need to change?"

 

Ever since I was a kid, I had very low self-esteem, and was scared to grab opportunities. All these made me question my self worth — I was unhappy with the way I was. And that was what motivated me to change myself and the way I lived my life for the better. My parents were always supportive of me and everything I wanted to do. However, I know they wanted me to be more outgoing and the thought of disappointing them was really depressing. They gave me everything I needed and I didn’t want to fail them. So I got to a point where I had to change to be someone I can be proud of. 

I’ve come a long way and I couldn’t be prouder of who I am today. I know my struggles and I know how hard I had to fight. It wasn’t an easy journey but it sure was worth taking the risk. Looking back at how much I changed, I can say with confidence that I’ve made it far.

"What do you wish to become in the future and how else can you improve?"

 

The fight still goes on for me to continuously improve myself. One thing’s for sure though, I’m no longer afraid of changes and can adapt to new things very easily. I no longer shy away from people and new opportunities. 

Too often we think that we’re doing just fine in our comfort zone.

But, is ‘just fine’ enough to live your life to its fullest potential? Is ‘just fine’ enough to change the world? Is ‘just fine’ enough to be who you can be?

I changed because being complacent was killing my potential, it wasn’t taking me where I wanted to be. I always believe one man can change the world. Being in your comfort zone will never make you that one man who does it. The moment you step out of your comfort zone and start breaking all those walls that have stopped you from being the best version of yourself will be the defining moment of your life. It’ll break, shape, and build you up to be someone that you’ll be proud of. That’s the defining moment of your life. 

I’ve still a long way to go. My life at Taylor’s as a student leader truly inspired me to become a leader of the community. I want to become an entrepreneur and philanthropist and help the community that needs our attention, support, and love. To many, happiness is being rich or wealthy. To me, I find happiness in helping others. I always believe that a life living only for itself is never worth living but a life that gives, supports, and loves others is truly worth living. If I’m able to change someone’s life for better, even if it’s just one person, that’ll be the greatest achievement of my life.

Towfiq Jamil is currently pursuing a Bachelor Degree in Software Engineering at Taylor’s University. He's the President of Taylor’s International Student Society and  Vice President of Shine Ambassador. For the past one and half years he's been working with Inclusive Outdoor Classroom, an NGO that works for children with special needs.

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