How are you all today/tonight? Good? Yeah?
As classes rear their ugly head, the realization that responsibility is a burden the child part of me absolutely hates fills my head with doubt that I can get through another semester.
It’s the second day.
One thing I struggle with in terms of social anxiety is walking in crowds. I don’t like the eyes and I don’t like the noise. Today I avoided them by jogging up the library’s entrance stairs and going around the back of the building into the lecture hall of my philosophy class. I’d rather take a longer route and risk being late (which I never am, because I also give myself a twenty minute gap walking in between classes) than to shift my way through all those monotonous faces and unreadable eyes.
I also didn’t know where the building was. Building 450, room 450. I thought it was a typo. I’ve been in room 400 before and saw it only went up to 420. I took a chance and just wandered towards the 400 building. I found 450 by coincidence. I spotted the number behind a bush and sighed with relief in my head.
In my pharmacology class, we have to do a group oral presentation at the end of the semester before our finals. That’s something I know I’ll be worrying about, but I told myself not to focus on that.
In philosophy, we do group work apparently, and that I am a little perturbed about. If you’ve taken philosophy in a college setting, you’ve probably noticed the professors can be some of the most outlandish (and by outlandish, I mean utterly loony, in a good way). My first philosophy professor I loved. She blurted tons of stories of times she told off car salesmen using Kant ideology and how the car salesman gave her husband an exhausted look at the end of her lecture. She screamed and cursed a lot and slapped tables and didn’t give a damn what you thought about it. She had a way with words I could only dream of and it meant a lot that she respected my writing.
This professor is almost the same. She doesn’t have the same open wit, but she is very boisterous and loud and because we’re in an actual lecture hall instead of a class room, she has the freedom to be very, very loud. I will not be sitting in the front of this class.
The problem I’ve always had in philosophy is speaking. As I’ve mentioned, I have immense trouble forming words. That’s what fuels my anxiety. I know that I’m smart, I know that I understand topics, particularly of the philosophical kind, but I need the space and time to think about them thoroughly. A room full of blubbering fools is not the area in which I can do that. When I need to think analytically, I do it on paper, not in my brain. And as most of you college students know, you don’t exactly get all the time you need to write your thoughts down before you have to talk.
The act of talking doesn’t bother me. The fact that I know that my words stumble and stutter across my tongue, and that my vocabulary falls to the level of a third grader is what bothers me. Then the social issues come in: do people think I sound stupid? Are they going to think I’m mentally challenged?
Because I can’t form the words right and they get all jumbled in my head like a traffic jam, I can’t explain my thoughts either. So even if I have a good answer or a right answer, it comes out convoluted and doomed from the start.
I had my interview today, and it went well. She wants to set me up with another interview with the manager of the position I was applying for. Turns out it’s even better than I thought: they discourage you from talking to guests.
I applied for a position called “Cash Control” in which you basically count cash and keep note of it. You’re in a windowless room in the basement and when you go out on the floor to collect the cash, the fact that you’re carrying thousands upon thousands of dollars (it’s an amusement park, remember) on you around hundreds of people is what is supposed to deter you from speaking with customers.
Because I had said I enjoy making people’s days and interacting with them (which is a partial lie, but also a partial truth), she asked if it was okay that the position required very little, if any, contact with anyone at all.
I said “I’m totally fine with that”.
But I can’t get over how ridiculous I sound when I talk. I’ve always been rather self conscious about the pitch of my voice. It gets squeaky when I’m around new people or really low when I’m around new people, depending on the day I’m having.
Mostly it’s just the words. I can’t form them quick enough to have a conversation. It made it worse that this woman (who my mother happens to have known from her years of working at a newspaper, which I wish she would have told me before I left) spit questions at me faster than a camel. When people speak to me, it takes me much longer to understand their words, even if they speak slowly. By the time they’re expecting an answer, I’m still hearing their first few words in my head.
It’s worse if they’re expecting an answer off the top of my head.
And like I said, this women spoke exceptionally quickly, which made it even worse, and I found myself stumbling over words and saying the dreaded “um” that you’re never supposed to say in an interview. The one at sears was much easier because he spoke a lot slower. At least I had a few seconds to come up with a halfway decent answer.
Luckily this company hires pretty much anyone, and it’s always kids and younger people. The fact that I look hispanic might also help out in my favor.
I also had to take a math test. They gave me twenty minutes to add and subtract. Twenty minutes.
For ten questions like: one customer’s total is five dollars and sixty three cents. He hands you a ten dollar bill. What is his change?
A math test I was 100% confident about for once.
I’m going to need a lot of stress management and coping skills for this semester. The group work is rampant and my speech is horrendous. I don’t think I’ll ever be an orator.
If the world would just write instead of speak, maybe we wouldn’t have as many wars.