anxiety · Comfort zone · daily · life · school anxiety · school life · social anxiety

Week One Recap

I finished my first week in the hotel hospitality training school program. Wow that sentence was a mouthful to read, huh? Here are some of the highlights from those six days. Yes, classes did officially start on a Friday. I know some of the things I made note of may seem insignificant but they were important enough to me to write about.

For clarification purposes, when I mention someone by their first name, that is another student who is in my class.

It struck me hard how time flies by. In the early mornings, I usually drew back one of my room curtains as I prepared for my day. And by early, I mean I wake at 6:15 AM because my school is all the way in Flushing, Queens and I have an hour and 40 minutes commute from Brooklyn just to get there. It was such a weird feeling to come back to my room in the evening after a long day and having to pull the curtain again as the sky was darkening. And then repeat the same thing when the next morning came.

Mondays and Wednesdays, my instructor is Ms. E who teaches interview prep and work readiness. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, my instructor is Ms. J who teaches hotel hospitality.

Another note to make is about the floor the classroom is on, which is important for something I wrote about under Thursday’s events. A locked glass door separates the hallway from the classroom. Only instructors can get in with a special card while every other student has to be let in by the present instructor or another person from their class. Students who need to get in push a doorbell that rings twice and usually anyone from the class can go get the door.

Friday –

  • Slept like 2 hours on the day of. Arrived to the school location early. The first day was like an introduction to the class. I was extremely scared when there was an in-class ice breaker game where everyone was split into groups of 3-4 and we had to figure out 5 things we had in common with each other. I don’t know if I would have done worse one-on-one.
  • The classroom has seats lined up on both sides of the room so the middle is vacant to allow the teaching instructor to walk to the front of the room. The desks are turned to meet the middle of the room, and in this way, students sitting on either side can see everyone who is on the opposite side. It was a weird experiment on my part but I decided to take the front seat on the right side, as a method of getting myself out of my comfort zone of hiding in the back.
  • Everyone had to wear name tags during class. This combined with my decision to sit in the front, I was called on frequently or the instructor commonly used my name while giving an example of something during class. This didn’t just happen on only the first day, it continued for the whole week. 😶

Monday –

  • Said good morning when I came in. Part of the class is learning to be cordial to other people. One of the instructors told us on the first day that we should practice saying good morning and smiling (even if we have to fake a smile, lol) as since we will be entering the hospitality industry soon, we’ll have to smile and be polite to hotel guests. The first person I tried this out on was the security guard, who I have to show my school badge to get into the building each morning.
  • Spoke a few times in class. Half of these times was answering questions because I was called on by Ms. E. Only a handful of times I got the nerve to say an answer without being asked first. Doing that gave me a very visceral reaction where my anxiety felt so intense that my hand was tremoring and the only way I could make it stop was to press my fingers down hard on the pen I was gripping in my palm.

Tuesday –

  • Said good morning when I came into the classroom, but the few people who were there all looked to be in the middle of their own business as I said it. This day was my first day with Ms. J. I guess I caught them off guard since no one responded but some people did briefly look my way.
  • Had to introduce myself, as did everyone else. I HATE how insanely fast my heart beats when it’s one of these “let’s go around the room” things and I get more nervous the closer it gets to my turn. The going around the room stuff seems like it will continue because it’s Ms. J’s style of teaching to get us to participate in class. Several other times in class she presented us with a question about hotel hospitality, gave us a few minutes to write down an answer, and then went around the room to hear everyone’s responses. Also had my turn reading out loud in class. The good part is she called on everyone for this at some point, so I did not feel singled out.
  • Started the habit of grabbing coffee from a nearby Starbucks during lunch break because I really needed the caffeine fix to get me through the rest of the afternoon. Also, it gave me an excuse to have a place to sit and eat my packed lunch.

Wednesday –

  • I think I mainly played it safe on this day. Was really nervous for the morning review of Monday’s class lesson because I knew I was going to get called on.
  • Every person had their turn picking a name out of a cup. This was to schedule each student for a date and time where we will meet individually with one of our instructors to discuss revisions to our resumes. I disliked the performance aspect of drawing a name and then unveiling whoever’s name I got (Lewis). My day was scheduled for 5/16. Good thing I can get that out of the way before the Memorial Day holiday. Less stress.

Thursday –

  • Got there earlier than expected and had time to walk further out than usual. Found a cool park that could be my new spot to have lunch. Visited the local food court but they were still closed that morning (they open at 10 A.M.),
  • Saw Lewis outside the school building. If I hadn’t just walked a couple of blocks to pass the time, I would have taken him up on his offer to join him for a walk. Then Amber passed me and said hi but she accidentally went past the school and doubled back. We had a very brief conversation in the elevator. Calvin opened the door to the classroom for us and I mustered up the courage to say to him, “It’s almost the end of the first week.”
  • Later in the day I was the one who opened the door for Calvin after he came back from our class’s 10 minute break. Rather than just saying hi, I went for a more playful approach and said the first thing that popped into my head, “Welcome back.” It seemed like nothing but for me those two words actually coming out of my mouth was a feat. Very often I can’t bring myself to say something as soon as it enters my mind; not because I am incapable if verbalizing it but because I am so used to holding back out of fear I will sound stupid. It makes being spontaneous very hard for me. So many times I find it difficult to think of a response to further a conversation and only after the talk is long over with, I think of things I could have said. 😕
  • Talked to Lisa, who sits two seats over from me. Felt like an out of body experience engaging with her. She spoke me in Cantonese thinking I understood the language and I corrected her in the most awkward way possible, “No Cantonese, Mandarin only.” Usually I am hypersensitive when someone is trying to talk to me and almost all my focus goes to the people who are nearby who may or may not be listening in. It is such a stupid fear, I know. This often increases my anxiety and affects my ability to speak. But I don’t know why, whether it was an adrenaline spike or what, for those short moments I spoke to Lisa, it was like my surroundings blurred into background noise and I forgot my own paranoia. But of course that sort of bliss didn’t last long. Even after breaking the ice, I am quite self-conscious of the language imbalance and my uncertainty about how to socialize with people who prefer to chat in their native tongue during our class breaks. It’s intimidating as f**k.
  • Recorded a custom voice mail on my phone as part of a homework assignment. I hated hearing my own voice but I had to play it back in order to know how I sound. The end result was fine. I sounded polished and polite, and there was no trace of nervousness in my voice message, despite just how jittery I was while recording it. That made me think I see myself more negatively than how others may see me. When I am nervous, I assume everyone is perceiving me the same way I am perceiving myself. The weird thing is the assumption comes naturally like a second skin and I don’t even realize it’s happening when it happens.

Friday –

  • Woke up in the morning refreshed for the first time this week, as I got more sleep than the previous days. Still, I felt just as sluggish during certain periods in class, like before lunch and the two hour time slot before class was dismissed. For the hotel hospitality days like Friday, there was a lot of video watching. The class is for a job as a hotel room attendant/housekeeper, but the training in-class also heavily goes into understanding how each department in a hotel works together to make the business run effectively.
  • Did a ton of reading out loud in class for roleplay situations with customers and hotel employees. I am relieved it did not involve having to stand up in front of the class or anything. I got brave one time and volunteered to read, though it was more like Ms. J made eye contact with me and took my reciprocation of eye contact to mean I was offering.
  • Still struggling to get past discomfort when people started talking in Mandarin during breaks. Today they were discussing other schools and I didn’t feel I had anything to contribute so I said nothing. No, not all the students are Chinese like me, but I can definitely feel the difference with some of them where English is not their go-to language as it is for me.

7 thoughts on “Week One Recap

    1. I can continue to improve. I probably will continue to struggle with some things that can’t change in just 8 weeks, though maybe it will lessen (in terms of struggling).

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It sounds like you are doing a great job in the class. I don’t know about you, but sometimes it is easier for me to “experiment” with talking to others when they are strangers and when people I know (like my family) aren’t around. You should accept all of the times you spoke and said hello as successes because stuff like that is hard when you have social anxiety. Best of luck with the rest of the class!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have the same thing! I prefer to interact with people when my family aren’t around to “watch” me. It’s too much pressure but also them being there affects my confidence level.

      I do accept all my mini social interactions as successes, although half of me sometimes wonders if I’ll ever get past the point of casually saying something to someone once (which did happen but I didn’t write about every time it occurred) and having that slowly become an acquainted relationship with potential for a friendship.

      Liked by 1 person

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