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Things that I once thought I could never do
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I had an interesting term of university this summer. Among other things, I had a quite enjoyable English 101 tutorial. Part of why I enjoyed it so much is because I was a noisy chatterbox when it came to class discussions.

This was one of those classes where the TA asks a question, then looks around at a class that is studiously pretending that they're cleverly hidden under a rock. If it had been a night class there would have been crickets chirruping. I don't think anyone in a class like that is terribly comfortable, if only for the fear that the instructor will break the impasse by (the horror!) calling on someone by name.

I know that I, at least, was uncomfortable in these silences. However, I've discovered an interesting perque of attending class when I'm sometimes six years older than my classmates. I've been there and done that, and on top of previous academic experience I've also lived and worked in the mythical "real world." Thus armed I found that I had an unprecedented level of self-confidence when it came to classes and my peers: what are they going to do, fire me? Ha!

So I became the big talker. When the silences came, I trotted out some interesting thoughts on the subject that my slightly larger experience made it easier to expound upon, and sometimes this broke the impasse and resulted in interesting class discussions. It got to the point where I needed to avoid monopolising the TA's questions, and started sitting back and waiting to see if anyone would speak up. On some occasions the TA and I exchanged a meaningful look containing something like "You're not leaping on this one?" "Naw, I'll let someone else try their hand at it this time."

All this, and I used to be a spaz when it came to public speaking. My mind would blank, I would get nervous shakes and rushes of adrenaline, and, on the occasions when I didn't completely forget what I was going to say, rush through it as if my verbal bowels had turned to water. I was convinced that I would never be able to stand up and speak in front of any crowd, and there I was, needing to contain my enthusiasm for speaking so that I wouldn't overshadow the others in the class.

There are so many things that we decide we'll never be any good at, so early in life, only to discover that it takes time and experience to learn like everything else. What sort of things have you thought you'd never learn to do but one day discovered that you could?

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I've noticed that your enthusiasm for talking has only increased recently. ;)

I used to be the one to fill the spaces, but I found after awhile I didn't get anything out of it, it felt like pulling a dead weight for the class, so I ...well, I stopped being in school, really.

I think that's why I stopped speaking up every time the class was quiet: I didn't need to be the one to answer, and I didn't feel the need to carry the class, either.

And, hey, if it means more participation mark for me, I'm not complaining. :)

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