Why I hate ice-breakers

Confession: I have been known to skip social events if I anticipate “ice-breakers” there.

So this one time two and a bit years ago (actually can I just round that up to three years to distance myself from the event please?) it was the start of second year of college, and it was the first Christian Union meeting of the new academic year. For the sake of the newly starting AS students we had ice-breakers. It was the “Tell people two truths and a lie about yourself and they guess what the lie is” game. I could not think of stuff on the spot just like that, especially not when I ended up having to play it in a group with a guy I had had the worst crush of my life on for like a year so far (and been too awk to talk to). I had written poems and diary entries galore about this guy, drawn his name in bubble writing, got into cheesy songs I previously had hated, the whole cringey lot, so now I was embarrassed before it even got to my turn to try and spin some witty little truths and lies.

I let the two other guys say theirs first obvs. I knew both of them already because we had been in the same English Language in the previous academic year. They were good mates with each other by now but I didn’t sit so near Continue reading “Why I hate ice-breakers”

Old Faces, Different Place

Three days ago, I got up at an ungodly hour to go to London for the day. I was going to an awards ceremony at St James’ Palace for completing my gold Duke of Edinburgh at 6th form college (I wrote about college in my 2-parter blog posts “College Days”) A trip to London is always exciting; I worked out I’ve been five times in the last two years which makes me feel like a seasoned London traveller, although I’m really not. It’s a 3 1/2 hour train ride from here in Lancaster.

The awards ceremony involves going to a part of St James’ Palace that tourists never get to look around, meeting Prince Edward, and getting certificates, which is one of those things that’s only going to happen once.

I didn’t think I was likely to see any of the people from college at the ceremony, as we all finished this thing just over a year ago, and there have been opportunities to attend an awards c Continue reading “Old Faces, Different Place”

College Days (Part 2)

Apologies, I’m back a day later than promised to carry on describing my two years of college and social anxiety.

At college I became an expert at avoiding people- not out of dislike for them at all, but because I was afraid of being at a loss for words in conversation or of getting tongue-tied. And I do get tongue-twisted regularly; I stutter and string hopelessly incoherent sentences together when nerves overcome me. Fear of this became more and more intense, especially in 2nd year. There were several ways in which I would avoid people. I would mentally map my routes walking through college to avoid any potentially awkward encounters. I’d strategically determine whether to walk slow or fast, would stall for time in the bogs at Breaks sometimes, all sorts… Avoidance skill level = genius, Social confidence level = rock bottom

In first year I’d meet my friendship group most break times in the hall, and I was pretty good at coming to sit with them at Lunch. Some lunches I’d come out of my shell and talk more than usual. On a Thursday everyone else was attending societies or subject support sessions and I had no one to sit with. I tried just sitting in the main hall by myself to eat lunch, but I became hyper-aware of those around me who might think I was anti-soc Continue reading “College Days (Part 2)”

College Days (Part 1)

Ok, so I think now is a good time to make some sense of how social anxiety affected me at 6th form college. Hopefully in times to come I’ll be able to look back and think “I’ve come a long way since then!”

As I wrote before, I left college 3 months ago and I’m starting university shortly. If you’re not familiar with the English education system, college (sixth form) is a bridge between school and uni, usually attended from 16-18 (in my case 17-19 though) There’s a few different qualifications you can study after leaving school, and it’s your choice if you study any at all; in my case I chose the academic option of A Levels, where you choose 4 subjects in the first year and drop 1, continue 3 for the second year.

Two years ago I left my tiny independent Christian school of 20 and set out for college. I knew it would be very different from the s Continue reading “College Days (Part 1)”