The Shyness Project

Archive for the category “2012 Post One-Year Project”

Collisions and Phone Calls

My first day of school started with a bang.

Literally.

For the first time, I was rear-ended on the freeway.  I was alone in the car and was on my way to my apartment before school started.  In my rearview mirror I noticed the silver car speed behind me, accelerating too fast to slow for the traffic, getting too close to me, and I thought please don’t hit me. Brakelights. Then, WHAM!

My mind shut down for a moment.  What just happened?  Did I really just get hit?  Yeah.  What do I do now? 

I saw the driver behind me switch lanes and edge toward the shoulder.  Dazed, I tried to follow her, but as I tried to get over to the right lane, an impatient driver sped through that lane around me, causing me to swerve back to the left to stay in my lane.  Soon enough, a bus in the right lane slowed for me so I could get over, and I did, pulling to the shoulder.

We got out of our cars slowly, nervous to approach one another.  She immediately admitted fault saying it was all her.  I said I was a little shaken up and had never been in an accident like this before.  We exchanged all the necessary info, noted the damage to my bumper, and then returned to our respective cars and went on our business.  I felt very wary behind the wheel afterward, and stayed in the right lane until I got back to my apartment to call my mom.  She advised me to call the insurance company right away and report the claim, and even though I wasn’t eager to get on the phone with them, I did.  No one answered though so I left a message and headed out to my first day of class this semester.

At school, I managed to talk to and introduce myself to one person next to me, one of the few females in the Criminal Justice class.  I told her about my morning with the accident and she said that her friend got hit on her 21st birthday before.  We talked about our majors and career ideas; she wants to be a police officer.  I thought of asking her if she wanted to exchange contact info, but I was afraid of asking too soon so I didn’t.  I don’t truly feel like I’ve made a friend in class until we’ve switched numbers and emails, and I usually do that right away, but there are times when I have a harder time asking.  I’m planning to do that soon though. That was my only class for the day, so I headed home after that.

One of the main reasons I’ve always had some fears with driving is because I’ve feared getting in an accident.  Well, that finally happened, but luckily this experience wasn’t too terrifying and I didn’t get hurt.  What I’ve realized though, is that the number of phone calls you have to make afterward is one of the worst parts.  I had to make and receive a lot of calls throughout the week and the week after with the insurance company and the estimate place.  I found this to be very draining, and I got quite stressed some days from being on the phone so much all day, relaying what happened.  But when I had to call people, I did it in front of one of my close friends, and I did it right away, which is something I’d learned to be helpful from my 2011 Phone Phobia experiment in my Shyness Project.  I wouldn’t allow myself the time to think or worry about what I was doing, which made it easier to call even though I still dislike doing it.  The people I talked to were very nice though and seemed genuinely concerned that I was ok after the accident.  After I finished calling the insurance company for the last time at the end of the week, one of my close friends helped de-stress me by doing a silly thing with a cookie. She tried to inch the cookie down her forehead and into her mouth, which was quite amusing to watch, even more so when my other close friend tried doing it too.  I laughed and felt more relaxed, grateful that the accident wasn’t fatal and my life hadn’t been changed for the worse that morning.

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I’ve Been Missing In Action but I’ve been Growing!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted and have been on WordPress, as you all have noticed I’m sure.  In my last post I discussed how I was wrapping up my first year of community college.  Well, it’s November now and I am in my second year of community college and have been living away from home in an apartment with friends as of a few months.  In this short period of time I have grown a lot and have become more independent, and have faced some of my fears and learned that they weren’t as bad as I thought they would be.  For one, I’ve been driving a lot more on my own than I used to.  Granted, it’s been a lot easier because I have a GPS I can use now, but I’m a lot less hesitant to go out somewhere I’ve never been before.  I’ve gotten lost a few times, but I’ve managed to turn myself around and find my way even when the GPS loses reception.  I’m proud of myself for that, and I do feel a lot more independent and capable.  Sometimes I really enjoy driving even, especially when the songs are good on the radio.

Living in another city for the first time has been a learning experience as well.  I only moved about an hour and a half away from home, but considering I’ve always lived in the same small town for the past 19 years of my life, it’s been a significant experience for me.  Thanks to swing dancing, I already knew a lot of people here, but I’ve also made some new friends and overall I’ve been very happy.

I also entered my first full-on relationship several months ago, which is something I didn’t think I would be ready to do because I had had some bad experiences with dating in the past that had made me hesitant to get involved.  Even though it is over now, I had a great experience and learned a lot from getting to know someone on that deeper level.  The experience showed me that dating could be fun and that your friendship with the person can still be maintained afterward if you ended on good terms.  Dating can certainly still be a little scary, but I definitely have a better perspective on it than I did before. On reflection, I think it’s amazing how much our initial experiences can shape our views, and I’m glad that my perspective has finally shifted in this area.

Again, sorry for not keeping this blog up-to-date these past few months, but I hope you all have been doing well and have experienced some personal growth over this time too!   If you’ve learned anything new or feel like you’ve improved in one area of your life, please tell me about it in the comments or in an email as I’d love to hear about it.  Enjoy your week!

Second Semester of College: Almost Complete

Well my second semester of college will be completed in less than two weeks.  2012 is certainly flying by; I can’t believe it’s May already.  It’s been an emotional and stressful year so far for me, but I’ve learned a lot from it.

I gave a presentation in women’s history class last Thursday which I was nervous about since I hadn’t had to do much of any public speaking in months, but it went really well.  Somehow I managed to not get panicky before my turn to present and spoke with ease and confidence, and made the class laugh too.  I’m glad that my speaking ability hasn’t diminished since I haven’t been up in front of anyone in a while.

I had to give a little presentation in my cinema class the week before too, which wasn’t a big deal to me either.  The girl behind me though came in late to class as we were watching a movie, and at the end the instructor asked her to give her presentation.  I could tell she was caught off guard and I heard her voice shaking and trembling like she was about to cry or have some sort of anxiety attack so I turned around quick and said, “Hey, would you rather do it next week?”  She nodded, so I called over to the professor, “Can she do it next week?”  He said sure (he’s a nice guy and a lot of people have been giving their presentations later than planned) and asked if she could give it Monday at 9 and she whispered, “Yes sir”, but he didn’t hear her so I told him that would be good.  She looked relieved and the instructor seemed to pick up on what was going on too and seemed glad that I was looking out for her.  It’s cool to be on the opposite side of things now and to help people out who have fears of speaking in front of the class.  Hopefully she will be ready to give her presentation this week and she won’t skip class because of it, but I had a feeling that if she had to give it that day that she might burst into tears up there or have some kind of anxiety attack.

Other than that I’ve been doing good.  I’ve been learning more about myself this year and am getting a better idea about what I want in life.  In August I’ll be moving out on my own with some friends to take classes at a different community college, so that will be exciting.  I think it will be a great experience for me.  Hope you are all doing well!

Swing Dance Crazy

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of swing dancing.  I was first introduced to swing dance when my brother Andrew took me to a dance in Golden Gate Park when I was 13 or so.  I remember I only danced with two other people than my brother then, because I wasn’t as comfortable dancing with others and didn’t know as much about the dance as I know now.

Recently, I went to San Diego for my brother Andrew’s wedding.  At his wedding, we did a lot of swing dancing because Andrew and a majority of his friends are all really talented swing dancers.  I had a blast and I had the time of my life when Andrew, Liz, and Dewey and I took the stage and did an impromptu lindy dance in front of everybody.  At one point my brother picked me up and spun me around, and other times I was jumping in the air as he kicked between my legs.  The dance was intense because it ended up being to an 8 minute song called “Bill’s Bounce”, which wasn’t intended to be played during the dance session, but it was really fun.

I went swing dancing the following Wednesday and Friday with my brother’s best friend Jack as well, and had a great time.  I made some new friends, and learned some new dances.  I was sad when I had to leave on Saturday because I had enjoyed dancing in San Diego so much and meeting the people there.

Swing dancing is a great way to make new friends.  It’s a social dance, so you dance with as many people as you can and will meet lots of people.  And several of the people who are swing dancers tend to be pretty cool people from my experience.  There seems to always be a few creepy guys at every venue, but you learn to spot them and set your boundaries with them if they are bothering you.

I think whenever you find something that you are passionate about and get involved in it boosts your confidence as well.  The trick with getting involved in any type of dancing is being ok with not being good at it at first.  This is a hard thing to accept sometimes because you’re dancing with other people and want to do well, but with anything it’s going to take time to get better at something.  A lot of people try it and give up right away because it seems too hard, but if they would stick with it a little longer they would see that each time they practice they are getting better.  I’m very glad that my brother introduced me to swing dance when I was young, and I know it will be something that I will continue to do all my life.

To see what kind of swing dancing we were doing, here’s a video.  This style of swing dance is called lindy hop.

The Art of Friendship

Things have been going well lately.  I’m happy to say I’m feeling much better and am back to my normal self again.

I recently finished a great book called MWF Seeking BFF.  It’s written by Rachel Bertsche, and it chronicles the year she embarked on 52 friend dates in a search for a new best friend after a move to a new city. It’s a very entertaining read as she is very honest in sharing her thoughts of the people she meets as she puts herself out there to make new friends.

There are a lot of great quotes in the book about friendships and reaching out to new people, but this is one of the best ones I think. She writes, “We all think we’re living in a world of grouches, so we’re too self-conscious to be the overtly friendly one.  A 2009 survey found that 75% of adults say Americans are becoming ruder and less civilized.  I was part of that ¾ of the population when I moved to Chicago.  I thought overtures of friendship would be received with suspicion rather than appreciation, so I hung back in fear of being the weirdo.  Now I think I was wrong.  It’s not that people are less civilized, it’s just that we think they are, and so we act accordingly.  We don’t reach out to talk to new people because we assume they don’t want to be bothered.  But as I continue to pursue friendships, I’m constantly surprised at how receptive people are.”

I read Rachel’s blog before I read her book.  Her blog was always interesting to read too and she always writes with a good sense of humor.  If you haven’t heard of her story I recommend reading some of her posts and reading her book too.

When I made an effort to make new friends as part of my project, I came to the same conclusions as Rachel.  People were happy I reached out to them.  One girl in my speech class even told me she was very grateful I had befriended her because she didn’t know if she could have gotten through that class without me.  That was pretty touching and it made me very glad I chose to try and befriend her.

Like Rachel, I’m always open to new friends and even now I’ve been making an effort to meet new people.  I recently made a few new friends at school who are really cool people, and afterward I was so happy I was skipping.  It’s a great feeling when you’ve made some new friends.  We often do think that the people around us aren’t open to a conversation or open to being friends, but the truth is just the opposite.  Many people would be thrilled that you reached out to them, and would be happy to be friends.  I know that when people start talking to me that I’m thrilled and happy to talk.  So it’s good to keep that in mind the next time we think that someone won’t want to talk to us.  The odds are that they would be flattered.

Random Acts of Kindness

When you feel down and are going through a tough time, it can be hard to get your head together again.  I was struggling with a lot of doubts and uncertainties that suddenly arose, and my mind was not giving me a break. Suffice to say I wasn’t being a good friend to myself for once and was slipping into a place I’d never been before.

But I don’t want to be in that place any longer.  I have to accept uncertainty and difficulty, and keep trudging forward.  I have to see the positives and not just the negatives.

I read a few of the recent posts on the blog, Year of Kindness, this afternoon after a long and dreary day at school.  Let’s just say that the posts touched my heart and I think it’s wonderful that Cat’s doing random acts of kindness for strangers.  It lifted my spirits reading about her generosity and thoughtfulness, and I thought of how I would feel if I had been one of her recipients, especially if it was during a time when I was feeling down like I have been.  I’m sure it would have brightened my day.

I think doing kind things for others can really be helpful for when you aren’t feeling well yourself.  It brings you a sense of human connection and reminds you of the little differences you can make each day. I feel inspired by Cat to be more active in my random acts of kindness now too.  I have done random acts of kindness in the past for strangers as well as people I know, but I haven’t really done any lately.  I feel like doing some now though, even just little things.  I know there are many people out there going through tough times themselves, and I hope I can make their day a little better so they can be given a boost of hope like Cat’s blog did for me.  If you want a boost of hope yourself, head on over to Cat’s blog and read about what’s she been up to!  You won’t regret it!

When Times are Tough

I know it’s been a while since I have posted.  I will admit it’s been a lot harder for me to keep up this blog this year than it was last year.  I still want to try and keep it up, though my focus has been elsewhere from shyness and it is more difficult to find things I want to write about.

There are times when things aren’t going well in life and can be really frustrating.  This is one of those times, and though I try to stay optimistic and hopeful that things will get better soon, it’s hard.

I’ve been taking care of myself though, running or walking daily, talking to friends and family, and writing a lot in my journal.  I will be ok and don’t want anyone to worry though. It’s just a tough time.

I have made two community college friends this year, though have only hung out with one of them outside of class, Kim.  I like how she isn’t afraid to ask me random questions when we’re together and we can just ask each other about ourselves.  We played tennis recently and she told me she’s in her second year of community college but I’m the first friend she’s made there.  She thinks it’s hard to meet people and that most people in community college aren’t as friendly as me.  I was really honored and was glad to be her first community college friend.

The other friend I made was a girl named Kelly from my very monotonous History class.  I originally sat next to a group of obnoxious girls and boys, but the next class I decided to choose a new place to sit and tried sitting next to this girl.  She was furiously solving a Rubik’s cube as I sat down, and I wondered if  she would be too absorbed in her cube to talk to me.   After she finished solving the cube and set it down, I asked her about when the history essay was due though.  She smiled and said not for a while.  I then asked her about the Rubik’s cube and if she had it memorized how to solve it and she said she had.  She was really smiley and nice and went into that and how she had gotten into Rubik’s cubes a lot lately.  We talked more on that.  She brought out her laptop then which apparently has a kindle on there and games. The laptop was a graduation present, and it turns out we graduated high school the same year.  I was thinking of when I would introduce myself and say my name and if I should wait when she smiled and said, “My name’s Kelly.” And I told her my name from there.  She asked if I had read the Hunger Games and I said I hadn’t, and she really recommended them, and then we got on the subject of Harry Potter.  She was really friendly and it made the class so much more enjoyable. The actual lecture was still very boring though, but it was nice to have made a friend to get through it with.

Meeting a Blogging Friend and a Buddhist monk

On Friday afternoon I picked up my friend Angela for a trip to a nearby town.  I was going to meet a long time blogging friend in person for the first time, Kathy from Pocket Perspectives, as well as her friend Jampa, who is a Buddhist monk from New Zealand who would be staying with her for a few weeks.  I was excited at the prospects of meeting someone in person from blogging, as well as meeting a Buddhist monk for the first time.

I decided to be the one to drive to get some practice driving to a new place.  The directions seemed pretty straight forward, which was nice, and I found it no problem.   We got there early so we waited in the car for a bit, then went in and greeted Kathy.   I went in for a hug right away, and immediately we all felt at ease and comfortable.  We all got along really well and Kathy seemed very down to earth and sweet.  We sat down and talked a little while in the kitchen, mostly about blogging and how encouraging and supportive we’ve found so many bloggers to be.  We both used to get nervous about pressing the “publish” button with all we were revealing about ourselves, but neither of us have really come across any mean people (though she did come across one).  After a little while, she set us up with some cushions on her living room floor and left the room to get Jampa.

Soon enough a tall man wearing red robes entered the room behind her, and he greeted us with handshakes, clasping our hands with both of his hands.  He took a seat in a cushion across from us, so the four of us all sat in a circle.  He first asked me about myself and my blog, and we talked about that for a little while.  He asked if I was shy, and I said for me it’s a situational thing.  I used to think it was my identity and made it out to be so much more than it was, but in truth it was always a situational thing.  The difference between now and a year ago has much to do with that realization, and that many of the fears I had I’ve now faced and no longer fear them like I did.  He said he was once very shy and unsure of himself, which surprised Kathy, but he said it was true.  It wasn’t until he became a monk that that all changed.  He talked to us about college too and asked what we were studying.  It was a nice, heartfelt conversation and we all felt included.  The word I’d use to describe Jampa is jovial.  I’ve never met a person so happy and full of love.  He was very friendly and talkative in his New Zealand accent and it was so cool getting to know him.  He had a great laugh and laughed often and was always smiling.  You might think of a monk as a quiet, wise old man, but he was quite the opposite.

After we talked a while, he asked if we wanted to try some meditation.  We said we did, so he had us cross our legs or get comfortable in whatever way worked for us, and clasp our hands in our lap.  He told us we would do a short meditation.  He instructed us to close our eyes or to keep them only slightly open.  We got comfortable, then he began.  His voice was very soothing, and he took us through different parts of the body to focus on first and bring up in our mind.  We did that a while, and I felt my cheeks flush and I felt warm and relaxed.  Then after going through different parts of the body, he had us focus on our breathing.  We did that for a while.  Then he went back through all the different parts of the body to bring ourselves back to where we started.  He closed by saying how we will strive to live in the moment today and not to worry.  To bring us back he said we now can become aware of our friends in the room.  My mind was really calm and I couldn’t think as well then, but soon enough I was able to get it together so I could ask him more questions about Buddhism.

He told us about his journey of becoming a monk.  He had seen a monk one day when he was 19, and just decided that was what he wanted to be.  He was an angry teenager then and didn’t like people, and thought it would be a good way to isolate himself from others.  His parents made him wait a few years to make sure that was really what he wanted to do, and then a few years later when he still had his mind set on it, they let him train for it.  Once he got into training, he learned that if he was going to be a monk it wouldn’t be about isolating himself from people at all, but instead be about caring about people and loving people.  At first this threw him off but with the more training he got the more he realized this was the right path for him.  He studied for several years in India with many other monks.

We asked him quite a few questions and learned a lot from him.  I asked him about how you can stop thinking about something when the worries keep creeping up, and how you can stop thinking ahead and about the future.  He talked about how we are never guaranteed a future, and to bring the future and past into the now is to take away from it.  He said he’s not saying you shouldn’t have goals, but that you shouldn’t make your entire life about those goals and live for them when you should be living for the present moment.  He also said there’s no point in worrying.  What he says is very true, and I really want to work on that myself.  He said he does not consider himself a teacher and he is still learning how to do these things too, and that we are all learning together.  I asked him about staying in shape and if monks run, and he laughed and said they can’t run because there’s a risk of disturbing something in nature.  He says they do prostrations though.  They can’t throw things either in case they might hit something.

It was all very interesting, and it was a pleasure and very much an honor to meet both Kathy and Jampa.  It was an experience I will always treasure.  At the end I asked if I could take pictures with them, and they agreed, so I set up the camera timer on one of their tables and dashed back and forth so I could get us all in the picture.  We took several to make sure we got some that everyone liked.  Kathy invited us back if we would like to come again, and we said we would.  It was a great afternoon, and the drive home was very peaceful.  We stopped at a supermarket as Angela had to buy some batteries, and I felt really peaceful in the store and made sure to smile at everyone because we had talked about kindness and how simply smiling at people can be an act of kindness. We talked about mean people in the world and why they are the way they are, and how they’re really just hurting and want to be happy like everyone else.

Later that night Angela and I drove up to our favorite swing dance place.  Things were going great until we got all the way up there and Angela got a scary call that her dog had gotten out and was lost.  Her dog is very neurotic as she put it and easily freaks out.  The fact that she got out and was lost in a very bad neighborhood was very frightening and Angela feared the worst.  She was extremely upset and had to drive all the way back to try and find her, and seeing her so upset and tearful made me have to fight back tears too as I assured her everything was going to be ok.  It would have been horrible if something had happened to her dog and I couldn’t believe this was just now happening.  She wanted to drop me off at the swing dance with my friends Luke and Stu, so we agreed, and she headed home.  I was really worried about her though and it was really hard to enjoy myself in the beginning, despite all that I’d learned that day about living in the moment.  Luckily about two hours later I got a call from her saying she found her dog and that her dog was ok though terrified.  I was relieved, and was able to enjoy myself more then and tried to really live in the moment with some of the dances, and those dances were great.  I was glad everything turned out to be ok and it wasn’t a horrible night like I thought it was going to be. It actually became a good night, and was quite an eventful day.

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Meeting New People On the First Day of Class

About two weeks ago I had my first day of school at the other college I take classes from.  The day started out stressful because I couldn’t find a parking space despite getting there 50 minutes early. Eventually, I just ended up driving across the street and parking in the overflow lot.

I hurried to my class, and found the building right away, though I did have to ask someone where the room was.  When I got there, there were some people waiting outside.  I stood there with them for a bit too.  Finally I decided to walk towards a girl and start talking to her.  I asked if she was waiting for the Abnormal Psychology class to start.  She said she was, and I asked whether she was taking it for a GE or for fun and talked about the crazy parking.  It was difficult talking to her though.  I was asking questions, but she wasn’t asking anything back, and she didn’t seem like she really wanted to talk or be friendly.  It was a little frustrating.  Then the door opened and people started filing in to the room.

I had noticed a girl who was standing by herself quietly, and had a hat on her head and seemed like an artistic person for some reason.  I thought I could either keep trying to talk to this girl who wasn’t all that friendly and didn’t seem to want to be friends, or I could try talking to someone else.  I decided to start over and talk to someone else.  The seats were paired up so I took the seat near the back next to the artistic looking girl which was also nearby the other girl.

I got my textbook out (as it’s a good conversation starter) and put it on my desk.  I thought of what I could say to the girl next to me to start a conversation.  I felt a little self-conscious about trying to talk with the new girl while having the other girl right there who kind of brushed me off.  But luckily, as I was thinking over my options, the artistic girl pointed to my book and asked, “How much did the book cost?”

Yes!  She wants to start a conversation with me!

I smiled and said I got it off Amazon and went into that. I introduced myself too and offered my hand, and she said her name is Kim.  (I quickly wrote her name down right away because I hate forgetting people’s names, and wrote my name in the top right corner of my notebook too so she could see it.)  I asked her if she was taking the class for a GE and found out that she wants to major in psychology actually and loves it.  I told her I love it too and am considering that and Sociology for a major.  I also went into how I’m thinking about Occupational Therapy.  We then talked about the parking and our schedules and what other classes we had, and she was really friendly and sweet.  She asked me a lot of questions and I asked her questions back too.  Often I feel like an interrogator the first time I meet someone because I ask more questions about them than I get asked in return, but this time I could tell she totally wanted to befriend me.  We both enjoyed the class and liked the professor.  We exchanged numbers and at the end she waited for me to gather my stuff and asked where my next class was.  I said it was in the Liberal Arts building, and she said hers was too, so I said we should walk together.  We did and talked and it was nice.  She asked me if I like the cold and I said not really, and neither does she.  We talked about the high schools we went to, and I said how I had played tennis matches against the tennis players at her school and they were a really good team, and she said she plays badminton.  Then when we got to our class we parted ways and said we’d see each other Thursday.  It was a great start to my day and it was so nice to meet someone so friendly and eager to know more about me.

Then I had Women’s US History 1877 – present.  A lot of desks were already taken and I had to make a quick decision of where to sit, so I chose a seat next to a girl with her phone out.  I try and pick random people to talk to and usually just pick a seat that’s going to put me around several people and go for it.  She had a straight face and I couldn’t read if she’d want to talk to me or not, but I decided to ask “This is the women’s history class right?” and she smiled right away and said yeah it was and she wasn’t sure about that at first either.  From there we talked a lot about the crazy parking, expensive bridge toll I have to pay each day, the parking fee, about other classes and teachers we had that we really liked.  She was very outgoing and was very eager to talk to me.  I’m glad I broke the ice and found that out.  Her name is Priscilla.  The teacher for the class seems awesome- she wore a black and white checkered skirt with tights, and a bright red and white blouse.  The front bangs of her short hair are dyed blue too even though she’s probably a 40ish or so aged woman.  I could tell I was going to like her already.  She was nice too and was really into having us use creativity with our assignments.

Then I had US History before 1877.  I went into the class and there weren’t many people there so I just took a random seat in the second row near the middle.  Sometimes I like to leave it up to chance who will sit next to me instead of picking out someone to sit next to.  Usually that works out ok.  This time, it didn’t.  Two girls who were already friends came in and started planning where they could sit so they could have their two guy friends sit nearby.  They took the two seats in front of me, then had their guy friends sit behind them in the seats next to me.  They were really loud and disrespectful, and reminded me of how some of the “popular” people in high school would act.  They were putting their heads down and didn’t do the writing assignment, and when some people would speak up they would mock them quietly to each other.  It was really irritating sitting next to them.  I tried talking to the girl next to me a little, but she was kind of hard to talk to because I don’t think she knows much English.  She seemed to kind of want to keep to herself too and didn’t seem interested in talking.  The teacher was kind of monotone also, but he seems like a gentle spirit at least.

It was a great day overall though!  It was nice meeting different people and breaking the ice with them.

How Things Change with Time and Practice

My first class this semester, Art of the Cinema, started this past Wednesday morning. I took a seat in the middle of the room next to a guy wearing a newsboy hat in the beginning.  Looking around the class I wasn’t sure if was going to talk to anyone or not.  After sitting there a bit I finally asked the guy if this was the right textbook (if you don’t want to ask if this is the right class, you can always ask about the textbook to start talking to someone) and he smiled and said yeah. I introduced myself then and we shook hands.  He said his name is Jamison.  We talked a little from there.

Then class started and the teacher had us all get up out of our seats and go against the back wall to make a u-shape.  He had each of us introduce ourselves, say why we’re taking the class, and tell something we wouldn’t normally tell a stranger.  That last part made my mind race with what I could say that was revealing but not too revealing.  I didn’t have to go until near the end though and realized a lot of people were just giving a fact about themselves, so I said I love to go out swing dancing, which isn’t what I would tell someone I just met anyway unless it somehow came up.  I wasn’t nervous one bit funnily enough.

Then he had us go up to 5 people and introduce ourselves and shake hands, though I think I met at least 7 people.  Then he had us form a group of 7.  People scrambled to form groups and soon one girl and I were off to the side trying to find a group. Luckily 4 other people came over to us, then later another guy came so we became a team.  We then had to come up with a team name and were assigned a segment of film to focus on and present, and we got movement.  He had us all exchange names and numbers.  Then we watched The Aviator for a bit and he had us write notes about the director and about the elements of film we observed.  At the end he wanted us to discuss what we wrote with our group, but only the girl on my right and I actually discussed it and the others didn’t say anything.

He had us pick a spokesperson to tell the class what we discussed then.  All the other groups went, and they each had confident, outspoken speakers who had a lot to say and obviously had some film background. It was a little intimidating listening to them.  Then he looked at my group, waiting.  We hadn’t designated a spokesperson, and all the others kept their mouths closed and stared ahead.  I waited a bit, then finally spoke up and talked about how the director was really pushy and controlling but also very determined to make his movie despite all the people who told him he should quit.  I talked about how he gets what he wants too, like in the scene where he gets the girl and the scene where he gets the clouds he wants for his movie background.  I also said how I really liked the music and costumes because I love swing dance and it made me want to be there back in time.  I heard one of my group members whisper, “She nailed it!” to his friend after I finished speaking.  The teacher remembered I had said that I liked swing dance, and asked what my favorite scene from the movie was.  I couldn’t think of one so I just said I liked the scenes with the jazz music and the singing.  (Now the whole class will have it engrained in their minds that I love swing dance!)

I didn’t feel nervous at all when I spoke for my group.  It was a big auditorium, like a mini movie theater, but I just didn’t feel intimidated for some reason.  I wasn’t nervous before the class even and to introduce myself to Jamison like I did initially.  I’m probably not going to see him again because we have assigned seats now, but it was good to break the ice with someone.  After giving several presentations in Toastmasters and my speech class last year, as well as introducing myself to several new people, these  things are much more natural for me.

Are there any things that used to make you nervous that you don’t feel nervous about as much or at all anymore?  What has helped you?

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