School days, school days…

I have class tonight.  And I’m sort of terrified.  As usual.

I’m currently getting my Master of Liberal Studies (with an emphasis on creative writing) and although I love it, I haven’t given it as much attention as I need to.  I haven’t taken as many classes as I should.  I haven’t applied myself the way I really need to and do the extra work I should in order to REALLY get everything out of this opportunity that I need to.

Yet, I’m still sittin’ on a 3.85, suckas…

So this semester I WILL do better.  I’m moving school up higher on my list of priorities and will rock it out in class and beat down those assignments until they tremble at the mere mention of my name. 

(Heh.  That just brought to mind sheets of paper suddenly whimpering and quivering in fear, with the paperclip suddenly unwinding itself and knocking over pencils and pens as it runs away…  Think about it for a sec, it’s fun.)

However, the first day of class is always nerve-wracking.  And it’s not a matter of being nervous about going into class or meeting people.  I can talk to a tree stump, that’s never a problem.  And I’m a theatre kid, so exuding fake confidence in uncertain situations is like breathing.  It’s all the unknowns and the possibilities – good or bad. 

I know the professor so he shouldn’t be an issue, but what if he decides he doesn’t like me?  I missed a buttload of class last semester due to my broken face, will he remember that and resent me??  What about the other students?  Will I like them?  Am I going to be the youngest one in there AGAIN?  I’m going to be sharing my writing with them, writing that’s way different from blogging.  What if they don’t like it?  What if they like it at first but by the end think I suck??  What if they don’t like ME?  What if they’re MEAN to me?!?  What is they hate me and steal my juice box at snack time or tear up my Lisa Frank folder?!?!?

Hello, neurosis, my old friend…

These things most likely won’t happen.  I’m going to like the class just fine, the people are going to be perfectly nice with a few sprinklings of awesome and suck, the teacher will be just as good as he was last year and I will be just fine.  I always get nervous about class and it always ends up being fine.  But see….that’s the other problem.  I don’t want to be just fine.  I want to be AMAZING. 

I want my work and my stories to shine and glitter like literary diamonds in a sea of paste.  I want people to stop in their tracks after hearing my work; to look at each other and shake their heads, awed and amazed.  I want my professor to slowly take off his reading glasses at his desk after reading my paper; to lean back in his chair, tears glistening, as he thinks, “Yes.  Finally.  It’s now all been worth it.”  I want adulation, accolades and possibly a pony for my superior work.  I wanna be the BESTEST EVAR!!

Clearly, judging from the previous paragraph, I have a ways to go.

So, in anticipation of the reception of my scholastic achievements, I sit with my doubts and fears and stew.  And wish I had my teddy bear handy, because I could really use his ear to whisper secrets into right now…

Instead, I turn to you, my moppets.  How do you handle first ______ jitters?  Other than just telling yourself to calm the f*ck down and stop being such a nervous little tit….

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22 comments on “School days, school days…

  1. Kerry
    August 23, 2011 at 11:55 am #

    Instead of focusing on what your DOING, focus on what you’re WEARING. That’s what I do. It’s super healthy, I swear. And if there’s a better excuse for a bangin’ new dress than the first day of school, well, I’d like to know what that is.

    (PS Good for you! I admire youre back-to-school-ness. This post gave me the cold pop-quiz sweats)

    • kindofamess
      August 23, 2011 at 5:10 pm #

      You are so right. The problem is I got dressed in a hurry today so I’m not feeling terribly cute. Which would be fine if I were wearing the new nail polish I bought so I could sass up my nails, but I spent all last night at the bar pretending I’m 22. *shakes fist at heavens* Damn you, social life!!!

      • Kerry
        August 23, 2011 at 7:32 pm #

        Pretending you are 22 – ALSO a good anti-jitter strategy. I use that one in the fitting room at Victoria’s Secret.

  2. ElfPuddle
    August 23, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

    I have first-day-of-school jitters all the time. That’s because I’m subbing, so it’s ALWAYS the first day of school. I remember that I DO TOO know what I’m doing, I scowl a lot, and I come home and have the occasional bloody mary.

    When I had a class of my own, I relied on my reputation. (I have a mean bark, but no bite unless I’m really pushed.) I also remembered that puberty is hardest on the one in it.

    I hope none of your classmates are still in puberty. Remember that you have a reputation as an awesome student and awesome writer! Scowling prob’ly won’t help you, but if anyone takes your lunchbox, send them to me and I’ll give them detention.

    • kindofamess
      August 23, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

      I SO wish you were my teacher. Then again, I’d probably try to charm you with funny stories and you’d be all, “That’s ENOUGH, Alyssa. Go sit back down and stay on task. And use your 12 inch voice.”

      I still have trouble with my 12 inch voice…

      • ElfPuddle
        August 23, 2011 at 8:30 pm #

        So do I. 🙂

  3. Anna Stern
    August 23, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    My strategy is similar to Kerry’s. As I prepare to return to graduate school, I spend at least an hour a day looking at backpacks and messenger bags on Etsy and elsewhere, then systematically rejecting each of them using a complicated algorithm I won’t go into. Today, I am going to buy fancy notebooks. And possibly a dress. I continue to be fairly terrified (and unsure how I will pay for the whole thing–school, not the notebooks). In a possibly more practical approach, deep breaths, running, and yoga, are helpful in ways that shopping really is not.

    • kindofamess
      August 23, 2011 at 5:14 pm #

      Bags on Esty?!? Why haven’t I been looking at those!??

      I should have bought a fancy notebook. I’m not even sure I brought my favorite pen…THIS IS GOING TO END IN TEARS!!!

  4. Erin
    August 23, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    Back to school? Me too! Except my jitters are about starting a grad program in los ciencias, when my undergrad background is almost entirely liberal arts. Whoops. Hello new vocation… My best cure for the first ______ jitters is a snappy outfit and a travel mug of coffee so I have something to clamp my hand to instead of fidgeting. When I was a kid, it was my pride in how carefully arranged all my brand-new school supplies that carried me through the first day. Especially if my mom let me get the horsie folders.

    • kindofamess
      August 23, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

      Brave lady!! Let me know how your first day goes…and make sure to bring your horsie folder.

  5. d-day
    August 23, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

    I’m not sure if this will hold true if I ever get to grad school, but as an undergrad, I had that pep talk with myself at the beginning of every semester (“up till now I haven’t applied myself as I should, but THIS semester will be different”). it usually worked every other semester (I would do fairly bad first semester, and then pretty good second semester). So I guess I was usually so pumped for all that I was going to accomplish that semester, the first day was really exciting for me. The second or third class, when things start to get real, is when my terror would set in.

    in general, when I have the jitters, I do the deep breaths, the telling myself to chill out, and generally trying to avoid thinking about whatever thing is making me nervous.

    your writing is always awesome, there’s no way your prof/classmates won’t like it! make them cry! you can do it!

    and. of course people will like you, I’m not even dignifying that one with a peppy word of encouragement, because, obviouslyyyyyyy.

    • kindofamess
      August 23, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

      I should add to my relaxation technique, “Tell D-Day so she can make me feel better about myself!” Thanks, lady! 🙂

  6. Beylit
    August 23, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

    I am just impressed you are doing more school. I couldn’t even manage to make it through undergrad (but that is a whole different story).

    I subscribe to the “fake it till you make it” school of overcoming jitters. I think it is that whole theater kid thing. I smile and am quiet and fidget with my jewelry a lot. I have heard it said women wear jewelry as a shield, using the sparkly bling to distract people from them. It works well enough for me.

    You have no reason to worry though, because you are a fantastic writer and a pretty darn nifty person to boot (other than that whole cat food smell thing).

    • kindofamess
      August 23, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

      Next time I see you, I’m hugging you for calling me nifty….and then making sure that I rub my cat food stank ALL OVER YOU.

      • Beylit
        August 24, 2011 at 8:31 am #

        You know you would be sad if I didn’t say it. It shows I care.

  7. lizzie
    August 23, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

    you are BRILLIANT and i can’t wait to hear more about school, missy.

    • kindofamess
      August 23, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

      Thank you lady!!! I’ll definitely let you know how it goes…

  8. Army Amy
    August 23, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

    The first day is always scary, even for teachers like me! I’d be so afeared to be in a writing class. (Sharing your writing can make you feel very vulnerable. And by ‘you’ I mean ‘me.’) I salute you for taking on this challenge!*

  9. Madge
    August 24, 2011 at 3:58 am #


    that my not necessarily be particularly *healthy* advice.

    but it is helpful. i taught in germany for a year and had a particularly difficult class on thursdays (seriously, there was a neo-nazi called steve with the skinhead and scary boots and everything. on the few occasions he would actually COME to school, he would sit beside the sickly ginger kid and make his life difficult. i had to throw him out once. that was terrifying).

    i also started late on thursdays, so i would go to the local cafe and have waffles and glühwein for breakfast. glühwein is mulled wine, which i somehow did not rememebr or realise at the time.

    then i would go teach and it would not be quite so scary.

    (note! i was not hammered! hell no, there’s not enough alcohol in it for that!! and also drunk in a foreign school would be MEGABAD).

    as a more mature adult, i find that keeping a mini-notebook and writing my actual thoughts “oh man, this is a bit weird. i don’t know anyone and am AFEART” makes me look busy and involved in the material and stops me saying STUPID things to people. also, when it’s written down, somehow the sting is released and you/i/one can just get on.

    however, you will be fine and AMAYZE everyone with your WONDEROUSNESS. because you are quite cool. CHIN UP and carry on.

  10. savychachasavychacha
    August 24, 2011 at 8:12 am #

    I second Madge! Not about the drinking part, but about writing down what you’re thinking about. My sister in law and I used to work together long before she was my sister in law. Whenever wierd clients would come in, she would start writing down all of her thoughts so she didn’t seem freaked out. This, however, resulted in some of the funniest ramblings which I would find when I came to work the next day. One of my favorites being “go back to your crazy fish world you ugly fish people”.

    See! And then you can look back at it and laugh and remember that first day’s aren’t that bad 🙂

  11. Erin
    August 24, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    How did it go, how did it go? I’m sure the teacher was BLOWN AWAY by your brilliance. Or your 6 foot voice 🙂

  12. VNikol
    March 12, 2012 at 11:23 pm #

    The only way I can deal with pre-anything-of-importance jitters is by preparing as much as possible & then letting it go. Sounds like you’ve done all that so just let it go. Yes, I know, I’m like a freakin’ motivational speaker and what not… you’re welcome.

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