14 Thoughts I Had While Presenting to a Room Full of Teenagers

Today, my coworker (and fellow cheese-appreciater) and I gave a career presentation to a couple of high school classes. We discussed the education and work experiences we underwent in order to became counselors, as well as what our jobs look like on a day-to-day basis.

It was pretty fun, actually. But there’s a reason I didn’t seek a career where public speaking is more common.

awkwardpug

I get nervous, and then distracted by my own nervousness, and then my brain sort of implodes.  Here are some of the things I was thinking about while speaking to the students:

  1. Literally every kid in here is wearing a t-shirt and comfy pants. I never thought I’d feel so overdressed in jeans. Should I take my pants off to fit in? No, pantslessness in front of minors is probably frowned upon.
  1. What – what is that girl eating? IS SHE EATING PANCAKES? With Nutella on them?!? What kind of magical-ass school is this?
  1. Can I go to school here?
  1. I think I’m using my arms and hands way too much. I’m like an over-caffeinated octopus over here.
  1. Alright, my hands are down now. Wait, no pockets! Where do I put my hands?
  1. I wonder if the students are thinking that my hair looks like a sea anemone today. They’re not wrong, but I still hope they’re not thinking about it.
  1. I just mispronounced a word. Should I correct myself, or keep going? Nah, just keep going, keep going – you’re doing great! Aw shit, you just did it again.
  1. Man, the English language is HARD. How do make sentence?
  1. Oh cool, my coworker and I are both nervously swaying at the same time, in the same direction. I’m sure that doesn’t look crazy at all.
  1. I wonder if other people find it this hard to act like a normal person. I think I’ve used up all my social skills for the day.
  1. Crap, my hands have crept their way into the conversation again. Sneaky hands.
  1. I hope someone asks about my hobbies, so that I have an excuse to tell them about my cheese blog.
  1. Okay, please don’t leave me standing here in awkward silence. Ask SOMETHING!
  1. Oh god, don’t ask THAT. Anything but that.

 

This was one of those experiences that I genuinely enjoyed, and yet am relieved is over. Does anybody else struggle a bit (or a lot) with public speaking? What strategies do you employ for making yourself more comfortable?

 

 

 

 

Letter to Future Me

I was nominated by Erin at http://bubblesandbeebots.com/ to write a letter to my future self – the February 2017 version of me, if you will. If you’re unfamiliar with Erin’s blog, I highly recommend visiting it, because she’s a great writer and has lots of stories about her adorable, food-loving little children.

My first reaction to this tag was excitement, which moved into slight panic as I couldn’t think of anything to say. Now I’m just feeling happy that I completed it 🙂

Here are the rules:

  1. Tag the letter under “dearfuturemetag”
  2. Write a letter to yourself to read again in a year’s time. You can answer then if you’d like.
  3. Nominate other bloggers. (My nominees are at the end of this post)

Dear Future Me,

First off, congratulations on still being alive! I guess all the quesos you’ve eaten haven’t yet given you a heart attack, so that’s good to know. How many quesos have you tested up until this point, anyway? I wonder if Sazón is still your favorite, or if some other place has taken that top spot.

Second, congratulations on finally being a fully-licensed professional counselor! You’re in the big leagues now, lady! Or, at least, I hope you are: three years of graduate school and two years under supervision were no easy picnic for your mind – or for your wallet. At least you’re no longer eating peanut butter crackers for every meal, simply because they were easy to eat in between clients, or while driving from one place to the next.

Speaking of food, I’m holding out hope that you’ve magically sprouted into a fully-functioning grown-up human woman by now. You do pretty good on a lot of adult tasks: you work full-time and you pay those bills like a frickin’ boss. You even do laundry on a semi-regular basis. Keep up the good work on those fronts!

The problem is, you often come home and have cereal for dinner. Or cubes of ham, straight out of the plastic packaging. Not because you’re out of food, or incapable of cooking something else, but because you just don’t want to.

Let’s try to do a little better at that, shall we?

While we’re wishing for things, I also really hope you’re still doing this blog. Sometimes, you fear that you’ll eventually run out of ideas (or that some sort of technological apocalypse will erase all the blogs from the internet), but you enjoy it so much. You’ve always loved writing, and the blog seems to encompass all the things you loved about being a yearbook editor – playing with fonts and designs, finding relevant pictures, etc. Plus, it’s fun to read all the other funny, amazing, and inspirational blogs out there.

Future me, you should continue to do things that make you feel happy and alive.

Another hope I cling to is that you’ll have finally figured out how to style your own hair. Right now, you only have about five options for hairstyles:

  1. Down and straightened
  2. Down and wavy
  3. Up
  4. Hmm…
  5. ????

…Oh, look at that – guess you only have three styles.

Let’s see, what else might be important to ask you?

Oh I know – do you still have your terrible laptop? The young and modern side of me is crossing my fingers that you’ve embraced new technology, but the nostalgic, easily-impressed side of me will be fascinated if you’re still using a computer that is now 11-years-old.

Enough about me! Let’s talk about you, future me.

If you’ve already forgotten, the February 2016 version of you is in a place where everything feels a bit uncertain. You might be working at a different job now, and maybe even living in a different city. That concept scares 2016 you. You like fresh starts as much as the next guy, but you hate the feeling of “flying by the seat of your pants,” and always have. You want to know where you’re going, and what’s happening, and who’ll be there. You crave the security.

I don’t know what you’re up to now, but wherever you are, and whatever you’re doing, I’m sure you’re okay.

Maybe you’ve even mastered something incredible. Maybe now you know how to make a perfect soufflé, or you’ve completed a decathlon, or become mayor.

I know, more than likely, none of those things is true. A year from now seems so far away, and yet it doesn’t seem like a long enough amount of time for me to have enacted any major changes. But the point is, you should remember that the world is your oyster! You can have whatever you want if you work hard enough!

…Except for the decathlon thing. You love cheese and television too much for that to work out.

Sincerely,
Current, 2016, Work-in-Progress, Me

My nominees for this fun tag:
https://myleastfavoritechildtoday.wordpress.com/
http://momsranting.com/
http://wwww.rockandrollsupermom.wordpress.com/

lettertoself