Friday, 17 April 2015

Through the Glowing

Currently playing : Long Way Down | Shots | You 

So on the first day of Transition Year and even way before then, you are told by year heads, family, your goldfish and practically everyone that good 'ol TY is going to be beneficial to you for a lot of reasons - one of the main things being a great chance to meet new people and make lots of friends ! At that point, my friends and I would make a face at each other and some sarcastic comment since

a. The majority of us don't have the social skills to interact with practically strangers

b. We don't like the other side of the year - we like the friends we already have

c. We know that with our luck, none of this great "making new friends' kind of thing is going to happen to any of us except like two of our friends so we may as well sit back and get ready to complain anyway.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

I am pretty sure by now that I subconsciously began Transition Year with the full intention to practically force myself to be more outgoing and to get to know more people. All I needed was a kick or something to encourage me to do it and that happened when on the second week, one of my more outgoing friends told me that she wanted to start sitting at the TY bench during lunch and asked me to go with her as she didn't want to not meet new people and regret it by the end of the year so I went along ! I didn't really know anyone there but I was find with listening and observing until I built the confidence to start participating although by the end of the month, I was on an adrenaline rush filled with anxiety and fear - which is the only way to describe it - trying to put off panic attacks every morning and lunchtime, because I could not handle the social situations where I felt so uncomfortable since I knew barely anyone. I really missed Third Year when I used to love all my classes and felt comfortable in but now I couldn't even find one class I fully looked forward to ! It really took me until we returned from Galway and October midterm to feel that I had settled into Transition Year and the wait was worth it.

The whole aspect of building confidence and getting to know people has been the one aspect of Transition Year that I have really enjoyed and I feel quite lucky and grateful to have had a decent experience in that sense. As a quiet person who would never speak a word to the person sitting next to them in class or waiting outside the classroom because of such dire social and conversation skills, Transition Year has put me in a situation where I force myself - probably not always the best of ways but still - to be more confident and to cope in social situations better. So speaking in the second-person narrative, you really have to thanks the friend who encouraged you to sit with an entirely different bunch of people for lunch and introduced me to so many lovely people, the person sitting behind you in class who never shuts up and calls you out for making small talk, the friend who has accidentally made a new classmate by sassing them and has dragged you along, the person who you have got to know solely because all you ever do is ask each other the homework you are yet to do, the friend who always adds you to group chat on Facebook and the friends who tolerate you in that group chat even though you keep sending 'cats in space' gifs and creating small talk.

I'm lucky enough that as well as becoming closer to some friends and making some new friends, I also didn't lose any friends during Transition Year and since I'm an observer, I've noticed how much louder and confident some of my quieter friends are compared to this time last year and that makes me feel really happy ! I've so many brilliant and funny memories from the last eight months which I remember in detail, I wish I could write a blogpost on all of them, but that would involve like twenty more posts which is not my aim so maybe I'll compile a few into one at the end of the year. The photos above were taken when a few of us went to the beach on the last Thursday of the Easter Holidays. The beach trips are a result of a group chat we basically spent our Easter Holidays on, quoting one particular message "People are gonna think we're cracked with insert-boy's-name-here going around in a bikini top, insert-name-here rolling around and the rest of us being us !". One of my friends lives quite near to the beach so the lot of us have gone several times over the past month and every time we go the weather happens to be scorching, the beach itself is always fairly quiet, there's a playground and shipwreck nearby where my friends who are all much more adventurous than me can be crazy and there's always something to do especially when there's not exactly a small number of us. So between walking off too many times because still-can't-handle-social-situations, forcing people to eat sand covered cookies because eye for an eye and not being in the best of moods because of reason number one, I was surprised that people were still talking to me by the end of the day - and the weather then was amazing by the way since the beach looks even prettier at the beginning of sunset !

Pat on the back for me not writing soppy for the majority of this post, but I am really grateful for the opportunities I've had this year to make new friends and be less of a social disaster ! Referring back to my friends and I's sarcastic comments at the end of paragraph one,

a. our social skills have improved. Drastically. I'm not even being sarcastic.

b. the friends I've made from other side of the year are actually some of the loveliest people I know and nothing changed with the friends we already had.

c. The whole 'making new friends' thing did actually happen to all of us - even our friends who can't stand anyone ! There is no escaping it !

Grace

3 comments:

  1. Making friends and being open to new experiences is definitely tough - but I am glad you were able to do it!
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