A few weeks ago our school had an open day for junior high schoolers to come and take a look around and learn about the school. My class is part of a global communications course, so they have an accelerated English program compared to everyone else. Some first, second and third years from the course gave presentations about their classes and experiences they had on different exchanges they had done so my homeroom teacher asked me if I could give a speech in Japanese to the students and their parents about my experience as an exchange student here. I don’t like public speaking and get quite nervous when I have to do it; however, I have given lots of speeches since arriving here and have gained confidence from that and feel more comfortable speaking in front of people. I wasn’t able to memorize everything I had written as I was only given a couple of days to prepare, so I was still a bit stressed out and had some nerves before speaking. Compared to the first time though, when I had to practice my self-introduction speech in front of everyone at the orientation in Tokyo, my hands wouldn’t stop shaking the entire time, I was significantly less nervous this time.
I also recently finally decided to join a club, I knew before I came to Japan that I wanted to join one, but I did procrastinate on doing so because I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do. I eventually ended up joining the art club. I was initially planning to go to volleyball but, like most sports clubs at my school they’re intense and have long training times. The girl’s volleyball club especially has long hours as they have practice in the morning before school starts and from when school finishes until 9 pm every weekday except for Mondays as well as weekend training. I decided that I wanted to join a club where I wouldn’t be home too late so that I was still able to have dinner with my host family and spend time with them and my friends on the weekend. With the art club, I get home around 6:30 and I luckily have my weekends free so that I can spend more time with the people around me while still getting the experience of joining a club. Because I had put it off for a while I was a bit worried to join a club but, like with everyone else I’ve met at my school they are very friendly and I get along with them well. It’s good to have something fun to do at the end of the day instead of just going home even if it does make the day longer than what I am used to in New Zealand.
Next week from Monday to Friday, my class is going to Vietnam as part of their course. So, since I’m not going with them, I’m going to be joining class 1-1 which is the same global communications course as the class I’m in now, just with the first years instead. I’m not friends with anyone in that class and I don’t think that I’ve met them before so I am a little nervous and worried. But it’s similar to when I first came here and went to my class for the first time, and that went really well so knowing that I’m trying not to focus on feeling worried and instead think about getting to meet new people and make friends.
I think that since getting here, I have begun to change a bit, especially with how I approach challenges or difficult things. I feel more self-assured and can trust myself more, in the past when confronted by something that made me anxious I would try my best to avoid it entirely, and this led to me missing out on opportunities or just making myself miserable by overthinking about all the negative outcomes or how things could go wrong. So far, there have been multiple things that I’ve had no choice but to do, and through doing those things that I would usually avoid, I’ve realised that it was all just in my head and that I would make situations out to be worse than they were before they even happen. So I’ve learned to not think too much about things and to do things even if they scare me because they usually turn out to be fun anyway.