Dear American Girl,

In school, I can be very shy and quiet, but outside of school, I'm outgoing, talkative, and fun-loving. I think everyone just sees me as the quiet girl who sits at the back of the classroom and keeps to herself. How do I reveal the real me at school?
-True to myself

Here's your advice:

Since it's hard to be yourself at school, why don't you have a get-together with classmates outside of school? You might feel a lot more comfortable inviting them to your house or meeting them at another fun place, such as a bowling alley or an indoor water park. Afterward, it could be easier to let your personality shine at school.
-Sarah May, age 11, Virginia

Join an after-school club or sport so that you can get to know people better at your school. If it's an activity that makes you happy, it will be a good opportunity for you to show your true self, too.
-Veronica, age 12, Missouri

Let your confidence shine. When you walk down the hall, say hello to everyone you know and smile. Stand up straight—it'll help you look even more self-assured. When you appear more confident, your personality will more than likely come through, too.
-An American Girl fan, age 13, Minnesota

I'm shy, too, and it can be hard to leave my comfort zone. When you're at school talking to someone, imagine that you're at home with this person. It might make you feel more at ease.
-Avery, age 12, Tennessee

Recess and gym class are good opportunities to show the real you. Let your fun side come out when you play games and laugh with your classmates.
-Kyra, age 9, Florida

There's nothing you need to hide. Be proud of who you are. Express yourself by wearing a favorite necklace or bright pair of shoes. If you show the real you on the outside, the inside might follow.
-Rebekah, age 10, South Carolina

If you no longer want to feel like the "quiet girl" in the class, talk to people at recess and at lunch, and don't clam up when someone talks to you. Try your best to not to worry about what other people think.
-Hannah, age 11, North Carolina

Do something that challenges you and forces you come out of your shell. I signed up for an acting class at a local theater, and it has helped me to be a lot more outgoing. I'm not as shy as I used to be.
-Kate, age 13, Minnesota

Start small and set a goal for yourself each day. For example, say, "Today I'm going to raise my hand more often in class," or, "Today I'll sit next to someone new at lunch." Taking little steps can gradually help you feel more comfortable at school.
-Katie, age 11, Maine

Maybe the reason for your shyness is that you're scared of what people might think of you or worried that you could say something wrong. Focus on who you are instead of what others think of you.
-Chrissy, age 13, Tennessee

Before you talk to someone, take a deep breath first. Don't let your shyness make your words get stuck in your throat.
-Emily, age 11, New Jersey

Ask a few classmates to study after school, or see if a nice girl can work with you on an assignment. These are ways to break the ice and eventually to reveal the true you. The bonus is you can help each other with your schoolwork.
-Cadence, age 12, Missouri

If your shyness becomes overwhelming for you, talk to your parents, a teacher, or a school counselor. Ask for suggestions, and learn ways to deal with your feelings.
-An American Girl fan, age 10, Texas

The next time you have something that you want to say, challenge yourself to just say it! Be yourself and say what you think—people will start to learn about the real you.
-Amara, age 13, Maine

I think these are both aspects of your personality. Your shyness is the real you, too—it's just another side of you. If you want people to see your outgoing side, sit toward the front of the classroom instead of trying to hide in the back. Speak up more in class. If you want to talk to someone, say something such as "I like your shirt" or "That's a great drawing. I love art, too." These conversation starters can show your classmates that you can be outgoing and friendly.
-Mae, age 13, Vermont

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