The Shyness Project

Archive for the category “2013 Post One-Year Project”

Reading an E-Book Manuscript from a Reader

About a month ago, I received a lovely email from Andrew Landis in which he described an e-book he had written with his co-author Julia Swift, called Bold. In his own words, “Bold is about two 15-year olds, one shy girl who almost died in a car accident, and one boy who struggles with the loss of his journalist father, as they try to learn the difference between being bold and being stupid.” He told me he thought my project was wonderful and was wondering if I would be open to reading their book. I told him I’d be happy to read it, so he printed out the manuscript and sent it to me when I had just gotten to San Diego State for school orientation.

To my surprise, I was able to read through it fairly quickly, taking in pieces over the course of the two to three days I was there. The beginning didn’t grab me too much at first, but as I got further into the story, I felt the writing improved and I found myself wanting to know more.

The two main characters are Sasha and Will. In the beginning of the story Sasha describes herself as invisible and insignificant as a shy person, which I couldn’t personally relate to as much, but I’m sure others have felt that way. (Personally, I felt more frustration with others and myself, but I still felt that I was important.) Later on after the car accident, Sasha begins trying to live her life fully and boldly, something she didn’t feel that she did before. As for Will, he is a character who seems to have it all on the surface, but underneath he experiences his own pain. The story is about how the two influence each other as they come to terms with their own struggles.

I thought overall the story had a good inspirational message on living life fully and openly, and I encourage you to check out the piece if you would like a fairly quick, enjoyable read. There are some great quotes in the book that I found myself writing down and reflecting on, particularly near the end. For the next 5 days, Wednesday, September 4, 2013, through Sunday, September 8, 2013, the e-book will be free for download for the kindle on Amazon.com. If you don’t have a kindle, you can read it online by downloading a kindle app for your computer I believe. After then I believe it costs $2.99. From the emails I can tell that Drew and I’m sure his writing partner Julia as well are wonderful people and  they use their own experiences with shyness to share an uplifting message. They have always believed in telling stories that can change peoples’ lives somehow, “even if it’s just one person,” so I hope if this book sounds interesting to you that you’ll give it a chance!  I’m sincerely glad I did.

Here’s the link to the book, Bold. Enjoy! : http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DSRJHHY

San Diego State, Here I Come!

After months of waiting, I found out recently that I got accepted to San Diego State.  That means that my two years of Community College will at last be coming to an end, and in the Fall I will get to experience going to a four-year college.  Not only that, but I will get to experience being 10 hours away from home and away from the people I’ve grown close and accustomed to.

Thinking of leaving to San Diego brings up mixed feelings for me.  I am sad thinking of the people I will have to say goodbye to and the distance that will be between us.  I’ve really enjoyed living in the city an hour north of my parents’ this year because I love the people, the dancing, and the general area.  I could see myself spending more time here, and feel the year went by quickly.  But at the same time, I know that San Diego State has a lot of interesting Sociology classes that I want to take, has a lot of cool areas to explore and activities to get involved in, and that I would really regret not going.  I’m likely to feel out of my comfort zone and a little lonely at first, but deep down I know that my fear makes it all the more important that I go.  I think I will enjoy living in San Diego as long as I can get involved on campus and in the community.  And I know I will still be in touch with the friends and family I am apart from.

Have you ever had to move away on your own from loved ones and start anew in a different city?  How did your experience turn out?

Peer vs Self-Validation

wreck it ralphI watched “Wreck-It Ralph” for the first time on Wednesday. The story is about a “bad guy” (Wreck-It Ralph) who deserts his arcade game to prove that he’s not so bad after all and has what it takes to be a good guy.  Throughout the movie he searches for a hero’s medal, which he believes will help him be accepted by his peers in the arcade community.

I liked the messages in the film about how we should not let others’ labels or views define or hold power over us. We are all too complex and multidimensional to be simplified or put in a box.  Ralph may play the role of a “bad guy” for his video game, but there is more to him than that and he shouldn’t be restricted to this role.  What he believes about himself and how he personally identifies is much more important than what others believe or think about him.

Of course, I can relate to this message because this story has a lot of parallel elements with how my Project came about.  I didn’t like how the “shy” label was imposed on me and how restricted I felt in my actions and pursuits. This project was my journey in shedding this label and allowing myself to discover who I really am and what I am capable of when I put my mind to it. In the end, I learned that I was much more capable than I believed, and that although I may continue to feel shy in certain situations, it doesn’t have to define me or hold me back.  Sharing these experiences made me feel very vulnerable, but the benefits were enormous and allowed me to connect with others on a much deeper and meaningful level than I had ever been able to before.  Since I could relate to Wreck-It Ralph, I especially enjoyed this story of self-discovery and breaking free of labels.  What did you think of the film and what messages did you get out of it?

First Debut in Interviewing

Although I’ve had several jobs before, I’ve never had to actually interview for a position.  I’ve always known someone who was leaving a job or have been a part of a program that led to a job. Last Friday, however, I had my first job interview.

I applied for a job at my community college as a basic skills tutor for students with intellectual disabilities.  I loved the mission of the program to help these students on their path to a fulfilling career.  As a loving sister to a brother with learning disabilities and epilepsy, I thought the work would be very rewarding and meaningful to me.  So I edited the resume and cover letter I had made for a general tutoring position in my previous Career & Life Planning class, and showed up to the junior college to fill out an application.

Soon enough, I received an email saying my application had been received and that I would be contacted at the end of the week.  Well, a week went by and I had heard nothing, so naturally I began to worry a little.  I wasn’t quite sure what I should do, but I sent a reply to check-in to make sure nothing else was needed from me and that everything I had submitted was complete.  Shortly after that, my phone rang.

I recognized that it was the tutoring program calling me, and I tried to compose myself and get my head together before answering.  After getting rear-ended and having to take my car in for a week, I wasn’t sure of my schedule until I got my car back and didn’t have a clear picture in my mind of what days I’d be free to interview.  Luckily, however, the woman asked if I could come in for an interview on Friday at 9am (a day I didn’t have class), which kept me from having to think through my school schedule. I enthusiastically agreed and thanked her for calling.

In preparation for the interview, I wrote out possible questions I thought I would be asked and detailed responses.  I made flash cards and looked them over and practiced several times.  I even had my friend Hayley do a mock interview with me 2 or 3 times, and although it was a little hard to get into at first and get over my embarrassment, it was very helpful.  She caught that I was ending some sentences without inflection, so I worked on that until I ended my sentences on a firm note.  She noted when I was looking away, and I worked on making better eye contact.  So by the time Friday came around, I felt more than ready.  That didn’t keep me from getting nervous the night before, but at least the actual day of the interview I felt fairly calm and confident.

The interview went well.  The questions weren’t what I had expected, but I was able to use the answers I had formed in my mind about similar questions in response to these questions.  I wish I had been asked some questions that had allowed me to talk about some of my accomplishments or personal traits, but the interview was very skill-focused as it came to tutoring.  I left feeling good about the interview, and relieved that it was over.  Hayley and I each got a donut to celebrate.

On Monday, I found out that I didn’t get the job.  I was disappointed, but considering it was my first interview, I didn’t feel too discouraged.  My head did begin to spin as to what had gone wrong though, making me wonder if I hadn’t appeared confident enough, if my voice had come off too soft, or if I hadn’t done a good enough job with the mock tutoring portion.  I thanked the woman for letting me know, and asked if she could give me some feedback on how I could improve for the future.  Surprisingly, it had nothing to do with my interview, as she said I interviewed wonderfully.  She said they had a great pool of applicants but ultimately decided to go with someone with a little more experience with this population and a little more teaching experience.  I thanked her for letting me know that, and felt better knowing why I hadn’t gotten the position.  It does seem like a bit of an oxymoron to me that to get experience we have to have experience, especially people around my age who are still very much in the learning of skills stage, but that is how it seems to go.  I plan on checking out some other possible work and volunteer opportunities, as I would like to go through some more interviews again and gain more experience in this area.

If any of you have any thoughts on interviewing or any experiences you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them!  As some of you may know, I just started a Facebook page here if you would like to follow me.  Also, I just got an article published on Susan Cain’s Power of Introverts website here that you may like to read as well. Thanks again for reading my blog and making this an interactive space.

Making Friends In Class Again

Last semester, I didn’t make a whole lot of new friends.  I did, however, become closer friends to the people I had met before in this area, thanks to the fact that I now live a matter of minutes away from them versus an hour and a half.  I got to know one dance friend whom I’d always thought was really nice much better, and we spend a lot more time hanging out now.  I also started carpooling with another dance friend, and we shared a lot about ourselves during our car rides and became much closer than I expected.  I hope we remain good friends even though we can’t carpool this semester.  I also became very close to the person I dated, and we’ve remained close since.  I did manage to make one friend in my Accounting class as well, which was really nice because he was very helpful throughout the school year and made the class much more enjoyable.

This semester I would like to do a better job of making friends through my classes though.  My mom suggested I try and have at least a 3 minute conversation with one new person per day, but I think that would be too much for me.  I do have the mindset that I will try to talk to and get to know at least two people every time I’m at an event or social setting though.  And I do want to try and make at least one, preferably two, friends in each of my classes.  I’ve noticed that I enjoy a class much more when I have a friendly face to talk to each class period.  It’s hard to make the initial “move” to talk to someone new, but almost every time I’ve done it, I’ve been glad I did and the other person is appreciative and receptive.  I just need to remind myself of this when the nerves overwhelm me and keep me from getting someone’s attention to introduce myself.  I’ve been through this many times before though, so I know I am capable and know it just requires saying something, no matter if it’s a question about the homework, the textbook, or the class in general.  As the picture says, I will put myself out there this school semester!

The Theme of 2013: Do More, Think Less

action6Initially, when my friend Barb posted about choosing a word for the year, I disregarded the idea.  I didn’t think a word alone could possibly encompass the habits and skills I wanted to develop this year.  After giving it some more thought, however, and after reading the subsequent post in which she disclosed that she decided on the word “open,” a word of my own struck me.

I vowed this year that my theme would be “Do More, Think Less.”  This came to me late one night a few weeks ago when I found myself in a familiar situation- I was lying in bed, pouring over a stack of notebooks and folders with notes I’d taken from books I’d read and from personal reflections, trying (again), to decide what I want to do with the rest of my life.  Quotes from the One Week Job Project were particularly inspiring, as well as quotes from a select number of career-related books.  One quote that I had written down that stood out to me was from Dr. Phil’s book Self Matters, which said, “You need to know your highest and best use in this world, and then pursue it. How tragic would it have been… if Mother Teresa had been an accountant or a waitress?”  Also, from Po Bronson’s book What Should I Do With My Life? there was the riveting quote, “If I were to make an early exit from this world, what will I feel worst about not getting done?”  Reading these made me question what I was doing in business classes, and made me wonder what career  I could possibly have in business that would bring me the kind of fulfillment and accomplishment I had always desired.  I did feel glad, however, that I was studying Sociology, as it is a subject that I am passionate about since it focuses on the betterment of society.  With a little more thought though, I felt reassured that studying both subjects would have its benefits, as there are certainly ways to use business skills to make the world a better place.  Plus, I like the challenge of business courses so far, something I have yet to feel in my Sociology classes.

I could have spent hours more pouring over my notes.  I could have checked out more books.  Yes, these readings and notes were inspiring and helpful, but thinking about what I would want in a future career suddenly just didn’t seem like enough.  I needed more experience.  I didn’t need to think any more if I wanted to work directly with people or not, I had to go out and work with people. I don’t know why this didn’t hit me before, but now that it had, I knew I had to get more hands-on experience.

So I decided to try and find a job.  I applied for a tutoring position for students with intellectual disabilities and/or autism at my community college, and I am waiting to hear back to schedule an interview.  I went with a friend to a volunteer orientation when she mentioned she was going to check out volunteering for a local Wildlife Rescue.

And I felt great.  Finally, I was going to gain more work experience, and perhaps I would finally be closer to coming up with an answer to my long-held question.  It certainly couldn’t hurt.  I have worked as a water efficiency intern in which I worked directly with people (which at times was draining and other times energizing), I have worked at an automobile company as a file clerk completely isolated from people (which I discovered was very lonely), and also as a babysitter, dog walker, and a brief advertising assistant in which I learned how to design a brochure using Photoshop. These have all been great experiences, but I feel like I need a lot more experience with different areas of interest before I can say that I know what I like and dislike in a job setting.

Thus, the word of the year shall be Action.  It’s time for me to Do More and Think Less, and get to work.

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