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I don't ask questions during class/meetings/seminars out of the fear of embarrassing myself. I am also not able to intiate interactions with people I don't know beforehand e.g. Visiting professors/industry-experts or professors in my department other than my advisor.

I got away with not asking questions in class during my undergrad as I was able to resolve my doubts after reading the lecture notes/ textbook and thinking by myself and this still applies to the classes I am taking in grad school. But a few months into my PhD, I feel this nature of my personality could be a barrier in many ways during my PhD and also in future.

I am looking for any answers which can do one or both of the following :

  1. Articulate the "many ways" in which this could be a problem for me during and after my PhD
  2. Suggest some steps which can help me overcome these problems.

P.S. : I know I cannot change my personality overnight with a magic trick but I am looking for small steps I can take in order to gradually improve and not let my introversion come in the way of my research career.

  • 6
    This question confuses social anxiety with introvertedness. Please remove the word "introvert." – Anonymous Physicist Apr 6 at 23:33
  • I think you could probably benefit from seeing a therapist(psychologist?) to find ways to work towards developing those traits if you really wanted to invest time in overcoming your barriers. You have 4 years, a lot of incredible behavioural changes can happen in that time period with the right insight. – GrayLiterature Apr 6 at 23:38
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  • If you experience severe anxiety communicating with other people, then you should consult a licensed mental health professional. If anxiety is preventing you from succeeding in your PhD, then it is severe.
  • Practice can help you overcome your feelings when communicating. Practice in an environment where you feel comfortable, and gradually your way to more challenging skills. Good academics practice communicating all the time.
  • There are organizations which will facilitate practice, such as Toastmasters. Your supervisor should also do that.
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