Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Hopes and Fears

My biggest fear as I start this semester and begin tutoring is feeling lost. This is my first job since leaving the military at the end of 2009. Since then, getting used to doing things differently has been a serious challenge, and I am sure it will remain so. I did quite a bit of public speaking in my last year in the Navy, especially during my deployment to Kuwait and upon returning to San Diego. That was very different, though. In my briefings, pretty much the same questions were asked each week. Furthermore, I felt like I had the rank and the authority to command people’s attention. In the Writing Center, it is not quite the same. I am worried about making a mistake and looking foolish or like I do not know what I am talking about. I look forward to becoming comfortable and confident enough to conduct a tutoring session or deliver a workshop effectively. I know this will be difficult, and that the only way to get there is by practicing and learning from the more experienced tutors.

I think getting over that fear will become easier as I get more practice and feel like I am learning from others and from my own mistakes. I have a generally positive view of human nature, and I like to think that people are forgiving of those who try to help them, even when they cannot do it perfectly. In my limited time at the Writing Center, I have already experienced this and seen it with other tutors. No one can be perfect all the time. Still, it is scary for me to think about the very likely scenario that at some point, I will feel lost, and I am sure it will happen at some point during a workshop as well as at some point during a tutoring session.

This fear goes further than simply being worried about not knowing the material well enough, though. I worry about feeling lost in the Center in other ways. I worry about not doing everything at work right, about forgetting to do something, or about misunderstanding something. I am even afraid that my fear will show and feed off of itself.

Fear is a very powerful thing, and most often a negative one. But it can also serve to make me more aware of what I am doing, and to drive me to do the very best that I can in every situation. Like everything, fear is good in moderation. I hope that this is the case, and that I can use this fear for positive things. I do not want it to become crippling to the point of not letting me take chances and show leadership and creativity. At the same time, I do not want the fear to leave me completely, since that may lead to recklessness and lack of awareness.

So that is my biggest fear. I hope to soon feel as confident doing this as I felt doing my old Navy job.

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