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Friday, 12 September 2014

Back To School!

"To fight fear, act. To increase fear - wait, put off postpone."
David Joseph Schwartz

I'm always amazed by how much I get myself worked up before an event. Whether it's an appointment, phone call or even something social, I over think things and build them up to be this big scary monster that might just kill me. As I've said before, my way of dealing with this in the past has been avoidance. I just wouldn't do the things that seemed scary. I mean obviously there's been times when that wasn't possible, but on the most part I wouldn't push myself do to the things that were avoidable.

In the last year however I have really started to overcome this, and I've written about that a lot on my blog. My blog is actually one of the tools I've used to help me overcome it. As I've said, my new years resolution for 2014 was 'do more stuff' and I definitely think my blog has motivated me to follow through with that resolution and what's more, become more confident. Still, there are times I find myself worrying about the monster and struggling to get things into perspective. 

However, as much as I'm amazed by how much I get myself worked up, I'm equally amazed by how I feel after. It's like before, the event is a giant and scary shadow of a looming beast, and then after I realise it wasn't a beast after all. It was a trick of the light. I feel silly for ever worrying in the first place and being so irrational. Things are rarely as scary as our minds build them up to be. 

I started writing this entry last night before I started my English class. It was definitely something I'd been building up in my mind. As much as I tried to rationalise it and remember it's actually a class I've already passed and I'm doing it out of interest rather than because I need a grade, I'm still nervous. I'm nervous of finding it difficult, getting behind, meeting new people and mostly of embarrassing myself.

As anxious as I was about going, I tried my best to stay as calm as possible and it worked on the most part. The day my class was supposed to be on was changed from Tuesday to Thursday, which in theory was less than ideal. My mum works Thursdays and Fridays, which means I'm by myself from noon until 3 - 4pm when my sister gets back from college. If my class had been on the Tuesday, my mum would have been here to help me prepare and get dressed etc. With it being on Thursday it means I either rush to get dressed and have everything where I need it before my mum leaves for work (noon sounds like it would give me plenty of time, but my mum isn't a morning person) or rush when my sister comes in. That being said, the fact I was by myself might have helped me keep my mind off my impending doom... I mean class, because I didn't have anyone reminding me or asking me how I felt etc. Like I said, I'm good at ignoring or avoiding things until I'm forced to deal with them. Yesterday, I think that served me well.

The first hurdle was meeting my new classroom assistant. She'd called the night before to say she'd meet me in the foyer and she sounded really nice and also young, which is always a plus. Classroom assistants can be hit or miss, and if you're going to rely on someone for a year you want to actually like them. Luckily I was right and she was really nice! She also knew my older sister as they'd worked together in a bar years ago, so that kind of broke the ice a little and gave us something to talk about. She's very down to earth and approachable so I instantly felt comfortable asking her for help etc. I felt like I was already off to a good start as I'd struck assistant gold and that put me at ease a little more.

We made our way up to the classroom and I was surprised by the diversity in the class, even if there were a lot more males than females. There was also a good mixture of ages, with the oldest being in their 50s and the youngest being 15. Our first task was to get into pairs and ask each other questions and then introduce each other to the class. As you can probably imagine talking in front of even one person, never mind a class is one of my biggest fears. It's the fear that almost put me off joining the course in the first place as talking and listening is a big part of the final grade. However it's also the fear that I want to overcome most and I hoped the course would build my confidence. It's funny how your reason for not doing something can also be your reason for doing it. As nervous as I was, I think it was good that I was having this taster of what is to come in the future and I think I did well. I mean it's hardly giving a presentation or doing a role play, but it's a small start.

I introduced a girl called Effie. She seems nice, but she's very quiet so far. I think Jenny, my classroom assistant, is her classroom assistant during the day. Because there is an uneven number of people in our class we were in a group of three and a boy called Joel introduced me. I'm hoping having to work with others will also be good for my confidence and social skills. I want to be able to talk to people without feeling like my throat is closing over!

For the rest of the class she talked about what we're going to be doing and when we're going to be doing it. First we're covering spoken language and the difference formal and informal speeches. We were also told by half term we have to have read Of Mice And Men as it's the novel we'll be doing. I've never read it as we did To Kill A Mocking Bird when I was at school. As much as I loved To Kill A Mocking Bird I think Of Mice And Men is a considerably shorter book, so I'm thankful for that.

By the end of the night I felt like I'd done well in my first class and hadn't felt too panicked, but also felt the road ahead was slightly daunting. I keep second guessing myself and my ability, but I know that isn't going to get me anywhere. I just need to take the class one day at a time and put the time and effort in to succeed.

Oh! I also learned there's a difference between compliment and complement. Who knew!? So if I learn nothing else, at least I have that! £157 well spent.


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