The Survey Experience: Perspectives from an Introvert

I have a confession to make. I am an introvert.  I did not always realize I was an introvert, I used to think I was just shy or maybe quiet. But a few years ago, I stumbled across the Caring for Your Introvert by Jonathan Rauch (I highly recommend reading the article in its entirety). The article described me perfectly:

“Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk?”

Yes! Me!

According to Rauch:

“Shy people are anxious or frightened or self-excoriating in social settings; introverts generally are not. Introverts are also not misanthropic…rather, introverts are people who find other people tiring.”

I know that sounds bad but it’s nothing personal. I don’t find individual people tiring, social settings are just draining for me. Honestly, sometimes I am as exhausted after a large-scale social situation as I am after a CrossFit workout (hopefully not as sweaty though – unless there was dancing involved).  I need at least a couple of nights a week to myself to even consider willingly attending social events and I am one of those people who after 2 or 3 hours at a party really just needs to go home and take a nap. But at the same time, I do not get nervous giving a presentation or teaching a class of 90 students and overall, I think that I am a pretty approachable person and very social in small groups. I do still enjoy large social settings, going to parties, and hanging out with friends, I just need a “rest” day in-between such events.

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People of Color in National Parks

The racial and ethnic diversity of the United States has increased drastically over the past few decades. The Census Bureau predicts that this trend of increased diversity in America will continue into the future.  However, you might not realize that America had any diversity at all if you based your perspective off of the average visitors to our nation’s National Parks.  Almost 80% of visitors to National Parks are non-Hispanic white despite the fact that non-Hispanic whites make up 63% of the US population (in 2012). People of color are not visiting our nation’s most protected areas despite the fact that these areas are preserved for the enjoyment of all American. For example, African-Americans – which make up 13% of the United States population – only comprise 7% of all National Park visitors.

Diversity in the United States as predicted by the U.S Census Bureau

To highlight this issue, Amy Marquis, the editor of National Parks magazine recently directed a short film titled The Way Home: Returning to the National Parks. The documentary follows a church group of predominated African-American women on a visit to Yosemite National Park. The film was shown at various outdoor film festivals across North America and features Shelton Johnson, an African-American ranger in Yosemite National Park.

You can view The Way Home here.

To learn more about diversity in National Parks see this article from the National Park Conservation Association: Expanding the Palette