"And do you know what? When at the end of the year that teacher gave out an award to her “best” student, the award was not given to me or to the other student whom she nominated to go to preliminary trials for the National Math Olympiad. It went to a girl who was outgoing and helpful, but—although good at math—not the best in the class. This was the first time I came face to face with the subconscious bias against introverts to which I had only thus far been marginally exposed.

On a macro-level, our subconscious bias against introverts has the potential to be detrimental to society. When you put your life in the hands of a doctor, you want the most competent one that you can get; when you entrust your tax dollars to NASA, you want the most skilled engineers designing the equipment so that your money is not wasted. If we keep prioritizing gregariousness over competency, work quality will not meet its potential. On a personal level, as I get ready to apply for colleges, I worry about the effect this bias will have on me. If a university were to compare my application with the application of the girl who received the math award, they would likely assume that she is better at math than me. Universities are making decisions with faulty information, and these decisions have a major impact on my life, on the academic rigor of their own programs, and on the quality of graduates they send off into the world."

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