Trying new things is always pretty scary – a new school, a new job, or even a new food that both looks and smells weird. New things and new experiences are inescapable, though. I am always a bit nervous (if you consider paralyzed with fear a bit nervous) to start new things. Recently, the newest thing that I have started is working at the Writing Center. Fresh out of training, I have entered the University Writing Center workforce all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I am stepping out into the vast unknown as I walk on the water that is consulting, hoping that I do not fall. If I do fall, though, I remember the words of a great man: “Why do we fall Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”
So what is it like being a new consultant? I am so glad I asked! To be quite honest, it can be a bit daunting at times. Like with any new job or experience, one of the greatest unknowns is, well, the unknown. What if I mess up? What if I fail or make a huge mistake? I have a fair amount of responsibility, but it is also easy to assign unfair responsibility to myself. I assume that a lot of the fear I have stems from my tendency towards being a perfectionist.
This past weekend, I received the opportunity to go to the North Texas Writing Center Association meeting. I had no idea what to expect, so I went into it with an open mind. What I found was a room full of a bunch of people that realized there was always room for improvement. Not out of a perfectionist mindset, but more so out of a mindset that we are never finished learning. Every new experience comes with new things to learn. This mindset, the mindset of a scholar, insinuates that learning is never truly finished.
Writing Centers are always willing to work together and come up with new ideas to improve. At the conference, we had discussions on different ideas that could help us improve how we work. Other consultants even had proposals for different plans on how to make the Writing Center a better place. I saw projects on the benefits of receptionists, ideas for advanced training for consultants, and even ideas for using moveable furniture to better utilize space.
This realization that I am a part of something bigger, something that is ever expanding, gives me a different way to look at things. The best thing that comes out of it is the new family that I have gained thanks to my new experience. The people I work with are always willing to help me and back me up. They always put a smile on my face whenever I walk into work which causes that paralyzing anxiety that I struggle with to become less of a problem. When I fall, I know that I do not have to rely on just myself to get back up. Instead, I can look to my left and right and see my family holding my arms, helping me get back on my feet.
As frightening and unnerving as new experiences are, you never know what you will get out of them. Fear is something that stops us from learning and experiencing. If I had let my fear stop me from applying to the UWC, then I would not have learned all I know now and I would not have an amazing family of co-workers that I know I can always rely on. So go experience new things! Do not let fear stop you from living and learning.
Written By Alfred