My worst date was my very first date. Late to the game of understanding social cues in how to speak to boys and grasping any idea on how to manage a boy “like liking” me, my first date didn’t happen until I was a 16-year-old sophomore in high school. Jittery and anxious, I had found out that this boy had somehow developed feelings for my awkward, shy self. Memory fails to recollect how I found out about his intent to take me on a date, but I remember glancing at him in the school hallways and receiving sporadic text messages from him on my Samsung flip phone. I had never been better at T9 text messaging. All of this was happening before I grew out of this awkward stage, so I was ecstatic, but probably more nervous than anything, when I knew I was finally going on my first date.
I’ve recently moved across the country for a job as a student affairs professional in a community college - new place, new apartment, new everything. I drove from my apartment to the new job location and missed two turns, showing my vulnerability and lack of familiarity with this new place. I hardly know anyone in this town and I haven’t had much of a chance to wrap my head around the fact that everything has really changed in my life. Not only does this impending unknowingness rack my brain and keep me awake at night, but the fact that this is my first professional job in the field, minus experience in graduate school, bears added weight to the situation. I know that the pressure to be a competent and knowledgeable professional is on and I take a gulp of butterflies down my throat as I begin to think of all the fears that could appear in this new job: “What if my coworkers don’t like me?” “What if I let them down?” “What if the students think I’m unhelpful?” “What if people think I can’t do my job?” “Will I spill coffee on myself when I speak to my boss?” It’s normal for these fears to cross both of our minds as we step into a new job. Luckily, I’ve been able to construct a few things to think about for decreasing jitters at the new job and hopefully they can be of use to you as well. By taking these words into consideration, they can help you manage your nervousness and think with a different perspective on the matter.
In high school, the only computer in the house had a giant Samsung PC monitor that faced the entire kitchen—whether you were eating, shooing the cat from eating yogurt off the counter, or sniffing old leftovers in the fridge, you could always see what the family member was searching on that big screened computer. High school was also the time before everyone had smartphones; I had a trusty keyboard slider with no access to the interwebs like I do now. Needless to say, to sneakily find out anything that may be deemed as “inappropriate” on the Internet was difficult, especially when it came to learning about sex. When I couldn’t reach the Internet and when having a completely cleared search history seemed just as suspicious as seeing Pornhub in the history, being able to learn about my hormones and how to give a hand job was hard to come by. Not only was this a little tough, but the only thing I remember about my mother teaching me about sex was her saying, “It’s like when two buttered pieces of bread are stuck together - they become one. But then when you try to peel them apart, the two pieces of bread break apart into different pieces - and not into their original state.” That’s right, my mother did not even say the word sex, but instead basically stated that if you do this certain thing, a person will just use you for sex and you’ll be clingy and gonna be heartbroken and sad and broken apart and they’ll leave you and you’re not mature enough to handle it and THE WORLD WILL CRASH DOWN AND YOU’LL BE ALONE AND AHH—Oh, sorry.
You get off of work late.
You stand in the center, proud of your ferocious roar of values and oneness that reaches the ears of the world.