First day nerves and anxieties as a mentor.

3rd December 2017

So as mentioned in my previous post, I am going to be mentoring 4 students at a secondary school on a one to one basis. My first day doing this is on Tuesday, and I’ve been having a lot of nerves and anxious thoughts about it. What do you expect, I have anxiety!

I thought I’d list some of the negative and anxious thoughts I’ve had – however unrealistic and ridiculous – and then try and process them, so here goes:

  • They won’t like me
  • I won’t be able to get in to the school
  • I’ll be too low and anxious to do it
  • I’ll have a big gap between mentoring sessions – what if I overthink and can’t settle during that time? Where will I go?
  • They won’t turn up, or they’ll be late and it’ll be a pointless session.
  • It’ll be awkward
  • They’ll say “I don’t know” to everything I ask them
  • How will I fit a session in to a half an hour slot?
  • I will/should back out because I’m too nervous
  • What time should I leave? What will I do if I’m too early?

These are a few examples of all the things that have been running through my mind about Tuesday. A lot of this has made me feel nervous and on edge about it, which I suppose is understandable and normal. A lot of my anxieties are rational and in all fairness, some of those scenarios could happen, such as them not turning up or saying “I don’t know” to everything. I think what I need to do is reframe these things in my mind and realise that even if these things do happen, it isn’t the end of the world and there will be solutions and ways to manage those challenges.

One thing I’ve realised, for a long time, is that I look ahead too much and can become fixated on what if’s and the future. I need to learn to take things one step at a time. Deal first with having an idea of what to do during the session, then think about getting there on time or early, etc. It’s understandable that there will be challenges but that’s okay – real life isn’t perfect. I think one thing that is on my mind a lot is that the sessions aren’t all together so I can’t get them over and done with like I wanted. I will be doing 2 half hour sessions and then have around a 3 hour gap before the final 2. So I’ll be speaking to the students about rearranging this for the following weeks, which I’m confident I can do, I just worry about how reluctant they will be about it and how I’ll get round that. I suppose I just have to emphasise that it’s ideal for me to get the sessions done in one sitting rather than going back and forth, and that their flexbility is important and that there are ways around it if they miss subjects that aren’t their core subjects and they don’t want to miss.

Arghh..so many thoughts. I just hate to be somebody that they dislike or somebody that is difficult and interrupting their timetable. I want them to be co-operative and I want us to get along because then it’ll be a smoother process, but I suppose there will always be that awkwardness for the first few times you meet anyone in life. I suppose it’s important for me to normalise the thoughts that I have and not see them as a reflection of how overtly anxious and ridiculous I am as a person. And writing this does help me to realise that things aren’t as awful as I think they are, and that I actually am capable of doing this, and doing it well. I do really like to be challenged, and in a selfish sense doing this will be good, and healthy, for me.

That’s enough for now, but I’ll be sure to come back and talk about how things went.

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