Something you may or may not know about me is that I am a bit of a hermit. There are days when the thought of dealing with people is almost unbearable, and I can go for ages without talking to anyone. So when there was a call for volunteers for the IDP pre-departure talk and it looked like I was the only person in the group who was able to go (due to geographical reasons), my heart sank. A lot. I wanted to decline, because this -- going to an event, not knowing anyone there and having to mingle -- was one of HermitJan's biggest nightmares. But I couldn't, so I said yes, and tried not to let the nerves bother me too much.
Oh dear oh dear oh dear oh dear.
(From IDP Singapore)
There is an upside to being a pessimistic worrywart, and that is you are more often than not pleasantly surprised at the outcomes of things. Luckily, this was one of those things. The entire experience was sort of like that 'Luckily... Unluckily...' game: 'Luckily, I was among the earliest to arrive. Unluckily, this meant I wasn't sure where to meet the other volunteers. Luckily, some of the other volunteers were friendly and easy to talk to. Unluckily, they all seemed to know each other.' So on and so forth. I think the 'luckily's outweighed the 'unluckily's, though!
The mingling wasn't as hard as I thought it'd be, because we'd been introduced as volunteers, so I basically just introduced myself to random kid + parents clusters and asked if they had any questions they needed answered. Mostly, I was trying to find the future Tassie kids. There were two girls going to UTAS, but they'll be in Launie because they're doing Architecture. I got to speak to one of them and answered as many questions as I could. It's nice to be able to help in whatever way I can. I remember having a ton of questions in the weeks leading up to my flight and not having anyone to ask, and it was super frustrating! Hopefully we volunteers managed to shake a bit of some people's pre-departure jitters today.
"Yes, there's a vomit bag in the pocket of the seat in front of you, don't worry..."
I guess the real reason I'm blogging about this is to document it, because this is something I'm proud of. It might seem a bit silly, especially to those to whom this comes naturally, but the whole mingling and being outgoing and striking up conversations with strangers thing is not something I'm good at; in fact, most of the time, I avoid situations that involve any of those like the plague. Today, though, for whatever reason, I said yes and steeled myself and didn't chicken out, and I think I did pretty well!
Volunteering and self-improvement -- killing two birds with one stone. Today was good. Hopefully I'll be able to volunteer again next year!