Ben Chansky (C '19)


Street: Has Penn made you more extroverted?
Benjamin Chansky: I think it has made me more extroverted. At Penn, versus the high school I went to—which was pretty cliquey and hard to move throughout friend groups—I'm able to coexist in a lot of groups in such a fun way. Like the idea of Locust Walk. I love seeing people across Locust Walk and saying hello. It’s one of my favorite things to do.

Street: How would you describe being an extrovert? 

BC: I think that being an extrovert is not having the fear to reaching out to strangers or people you have minimum connections with. Like for example, I was in the art studio the other day, and there were people there I didn’t know at all, but I had no problem going up to them and being like, “Do you like this, or what do you think about this?” And from there, I found things to talk about with them to form a basis of a connection. 

Street: Do extroverts still need alone time?

BC: I need tor re–juice hardcore. The reenergizing is super important. My roommate is always in his bed asleep, so the one time of the day that I am truly alone is when I am showering. It doesn’t need to be for three hours, in my room alone, with the blinds pulled and door locked. I do get a lot of energy from being around other people, but I think being with myself is a critical aspect of what helps me interact with other people. I need to know how I’m doing. 

Street: How often do you think you are alone?

BC: Honestly, pretty much never. Sometimes, it makes me kind of crazy. I will just want to disengage. Literally, my shower is the only time. Like even when people are sitting alone in the dining hall, I’ll be like, “Join me! I don’t know you, but let’s talk!”

Street: What’s the best and worst part about being an extrovert?
BC: I think that something I’ve realized more recently that comes with the territory of having an extroverted personality, you are always the person reaching out and seeing how people are. People can be selfish with your time, and it leads to a lack of them checking in on you. You seem like an endless source of energy. And sometimes I’m like, “Damn, I wish other people would ask me how I was doing instead of me always doing it.”

Street: Do you feel a sense of social pressure because you’re an extrovert?

BC: Definitely with some of my social groups. I feel like I need to make it all happen. 

Street: Do you think Penn is easier for extroverts?

BC: I mean, I think that it could be in some ways, but I also think it's limiting. Being introverted has advantages that aren't super explicit, but they are definitely there. I think at a school like Penn that is relatively large, people are go–getters and don’t let people stop them. Being extroverted is definitely easier when you want to get your voice heard. But I’m sure there are ways that I can’t appreciate where being introverted is better. 

Street: How would your friends characterize you?

BC: I'm super optimistic. Even if things are going to shit, I always think we’re going to sort through it. I’m humorous – the biggest way I try to communicate with the world around me is through humor. So many bad things happen, so everything I do, I do it with a tint of humor. I’m a little insecure—when people don’t reach out or answer a text, I take it super personally, and it will become a huge thing in my head. But it’s always nothing. I overthink things socially every day. 

Sam Rohr (C '16)

"Most Introverted Extrovert"

Street: What are misconceptions about being an introvert/extrovert?

Sam Rohr: I have literally no idea. Maybe that introverts don’t like people? 

Street: What is the hardest part about being an introvert/extrovert in college? 

SR: I think it's more challenging to be introverted in college, personally. More so than any other time in your life, in college, you are constantly surrounded by people. I feel it's harder to get away or be alone in college than it is at other points in your life. Unless you went to boarding school or something like that. 

Street: How would you characterize being introverted or extroverted in your own words?

SR: Well, when I think of being either extroverted or introverted, what has always come to mind has been what makes you happier. Would you rather be alone or surrounded by people? My good friend Nathan Platnick and I were having this conversation, which is when I came up with the whole "most introverted extrovert" thing. I really enjoy both being surrounded by a lot of people in any capacity or just wandering alone downtown by myself for a couple of hours. Both of those things are fun for me. 

Street: Do you think Penn has made you more extroverted?

SR: I think Penn has made me more introverted, actually. I saw this just because I find it easier to accomplish things when I’m alone. Whether that be getting work done or moving from place to place (I’m one of those strange kids that bikes everywhere) or running errands. I also play a sport here and am in Greek life, so I’m constantly surrounded by people, who I fortunately like a lot, which makes getting away more rewarding. Then again, maybe its made me more extroverted because Penn is more cliquey than my high school, so you end up with friends in a bunch of different social circles and end up always meeting new kids.  

Street: How would your friends characterize you?

SR: Whatever the best adjective is for someone who “does their own thing” or wanders a lot. People have told me I could have a conversation with a brick wall for a couple of hours. Actually, can you ask one of my friends that? Their answers might be really entertaining. 

Street: How often do you think you are alone?

SR: Excluding the time that I spend at practice, probably 50/50 split, I would say. 

Caroline Granath (W '18)


Street: What are misconceptions about being an introvert?

Caroline Granath: I think people think of introverts as ones who don’t go out at all or keep to themselves and don’t have as many friends.

Street: What is the hardest part about being an introvert in college?

CG: It’s a lot harder at Penn because so much of Penn culture is about showing other people that you’re having a good time and involved and always going out and having fun. So it’s hard if you want to keep up and seem outgoing, but you’re not always outgoing. I consider myself an introvert, but I think that at times, I’ll be just as outgoing as the next extrovert but in smaller time quantities. Like I’ll be outgoing for four hours, and then I’m done for the week. I think it’s harder at college when everyone expects you to be on your game all the time and going out and socializing. 

Street: What’s the best and worst part about being an introvert?

CG: I love being an introvert. I'm the type of person who lives in my head, so I usually think about things before I do them. I'll usually catch myself before I do something I’m going to regret. I’m a very cautious person, and I think about my decisions before I commit to them. That, for me, has been really positive. The worst part is that it’s hard to motivate sometimes if all I want to do is sit at home and read a book—obviously, I want to spend time with my friends, but there are some times when I need that recharging period, so it’s hard. 

Street: How would you characterized being introverted in your own words?

CG: To me, being an introvert just means living in your head. I think about things a lot more than I do things. So I’ll play out a bunch of situations in my head about where I am going academically or what paths I can take or even socially. I like to look at the different perspectives, and I think that’s a big part of being an introvert. You are always weighing costs vs. benefits. I enjoy being alone, and I don’t feel the constant need to be around people. It definitely promotes independence. I definitely get my energy from being alone. 

Street: Do you think Penn has made you more extroverted?

CG: I think a little bit of both. When I go out, I’m a lot more extroverted than I would normally be because you kind of have to be in order to keep up, but also when Im in an introverted phase, I go a lot further in the opposite direction, like I won’t see anyone for a day or two. At college, it’s a lot easier to do that because everyone is on their own schedule.

Street: How many people do you see during the day?

CG: I probably see one or two people outside of class. 

Street: Do you generally go out of your way to see people?

CG: I go out of my way to see my very close friends, but outside of that group, I wouldn’t. 

Street: How would your friends characterize you?

CG: Motherly, responsible, cautious and probably very focused and work–oriented. 

Street: What’s the hardest part about Penn’s social scene?

CG: I think it’s mostly that there is all this hype to be a bigger presence than one person can possibly be, whether it's on a social media site or within smaller social circles. It just seems like everyone is trying to push themselves on everyone all the time. Whereas if you want to be more low–key, it’s hard to have a big social standing.