College experiences allowed introvert to form meaningful connectionsMay 02, 2024

The image to use for this article. Listing image managed through RSS tab. Mia Wojtek (headshot)

“For the first 18 years of my life, I was a total introvert,” Mia Wojtek said.  “It wasn’t until I started volunteering through the Legacy Scholars program that I was able to truly enjoy people and form personal connections.”

“Mia has been a wonderful addition to the Legacy Scholars Program,” Megan Brincks, Student Services dean and director of the Midland College Legacy Scholars program, said.  “During her first year, Mia’s inclination was always to let other people speak up and to stay in the background.  This past year, however, she stepped into leadership roles, offering her opinions and using the skills she learned to network across campus.  She was part of the Legacy Scholars Sophomore Academy, and I’m so impressed with how she pushed herself out of her comfort zone to talk to leaders across campus and get involved in fundraising efforts.  She’s not shy about talking to other students any more, and I’m so excited to see what the future holds for her.”

Wojtek was born in Amarillo and then moved to Pocatello, Idaho, where she started school.  In 2019, she moved to Midland to live with her father, Darrell Wojtek, a graphic designer for Callender’s Gallery & Framing in Midland.  

“I attended Midland High School and graduated in May 2022,” she explained.  “In order to be eligible for the Legacy Scholars program at Midland College, I started volunteering with the Midland County Public Library during my junior year in high school.  I had to communicate with other volunteers and patrons.  Those volunteer experiences were the impetus for coming out of my shell as an anxious introvert.”

She said that when she started attending Midland College in the fall of 2022, she also began working part time as a library assistant in the Fasken Learning Resource Center (Midland College library).   Part of her job responsibilities included interacting with her fellow students through checking in and out books, helping locate research material and general customer service responsibilities.  She said that those duties also helped her be more comfortable around people.

“Don’t get me wrong,” Wojtek said.  “I’m still an introvert.  I didn’t completely change my personality or my fondness of solitude, and I don’t think I will ever enjoy a crowded party, but I do now enjoy one-on-one engagement and small groups of people in calm environments.

“A lot of people associate introversion with being shy, aloof, arrogant or generally disliking people, but we introverts do not fear or dislike others, and contrary to popular belief, we are not plagued by loneliness.  Unlike more extroverted individuals, we gain energy from reflection.”

Wojtek is in good company as an introvert.  Some famous, successful introverts include Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Warren Buffett, J. K. Rowling, Mark Zuckerberg and Emma Watson.  

According to a January 28, 2021, article in Harvard Business Review, “Introverts have a natural ability to build deep and meaningful connections.  They just do it a bit differently.  In addition, they are great listeners and can capture information that some extroverts might overlook.”

On Tuesday, April 30, at the annual Legacy Scholars Celebration, Wojtek was one of seven Legacy Scholars to receive the Herbert L. Cartwright Continuance Scholarship from the Abell-Hanger Foundation.  This scholarship is awarded to a select group of graduating MC Legacy Scholars who plan to transfer to a Texas public university.  On Friday, May 10, Wojtek will graduate from Midland College with an Associate of Arts degree and a 3.7 GPA, and in August she will transfer to West Texas A&M University (WTAMU) in Canyon where she plans to major in English with the hopes of eventually going into journalism and/or editing.

 “I’ve loved to write all my life,” she said.  “I guess that’s part of being an introvert—enjoying the solitude of writing.  My favorite writing genres are sci-fi, fantasy and fictional crime.  My ultimate goal is to one day be published.”  

She also enjoys drawing.  An art class with Professor Dagan Sherman was among her favorite classes at Midland College.  Other favorite courses included Speech with Dr. Steven Gaines and History with Dr. Todd Houck.  Her all-time favorite class while attending MC was English with Melissa Boyce.

“I first met Mia in a composition class and soon realized she’d be much more than a passive writer of boring college English papers,” Boyce said.  “From the start, she was enthusiastic about the material; she brought a keen perspective and wit to the table that everyone appreciated.  Wherever she goes, she creates warmth and light.  She is a true scholar, and I’m proud of her!”

Besides writing, in her spare time Wojtek enjoys watching films, especially horror and psychological thrillers, roller skating and playing with her grandmother’s Chihuahua.

When she begins taking classes at WTAMU, she plans to look for full-time employment in order to help pay for living expenses.  With her volunteer involvement at Midland County Public Library and her part-time work experience in the Midland College library, she hopes to continue working in a library setting, a job that fits well with her introvert personality and allows her to still collaborate with others on a meaningful level.

Being the most talkative person in the room may be a good way to get people’s attention, but it doesn’t necessarily ensure the best ideas.  So, while Wojtek said that she now enjoys meeting people and forming connections, she still values solitude and the joy of being alone reading, studying, meditating, designing—or any number of other quiet and worthwhile activities.  

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