Friday, March 8, 2013


I often think of myself as incompetent. Not in academic things like reading and writing and so on, and not even at music (although that can happen too), but at general life skills. I can have a lot of fear about things like calling people on the phone, or asking for help. In groups I depend on other people to take care of most logistics and map-reading and anything else I think of myself as not being very good at.

And then, I, this person who has that view of herself of being an incompetent scaredy-cat, spent the better part of two weeks traveling, by herself, to auditions for flute grad school. And I survived. I did nearly all of the trip-planning myself as well, and honestly, I think I did a pretty good job. So that was definitely a learning experience.

Lesson one: I'm not as helpless as I think I am. If asking the hotel front desk how to get on the internet and then calling a delivery place to ask about their ingredients and to order food stands between me and dinner when I am hungry, I can do it. If calling a taxi is the only way to get where I need to go, I can do it. If asking someone for directions is the only way I can find the campus building I am looking for, I can do it.

Lesson two: Planning well really does take a lot of the stress out of the actual trip. And I am decent at planning.

Lesson three: Making mistakes can be part of a learning process; it doesn't automatically lead to The Ruin of The Whole Project. There were definitely elements that were not as well planned or well executed as they could have been, but I still eventually ended up where I needed to be by the time I needed to be there. As an example of poor planning: thinking about the time change when picking flights to go to California is a good idea. I didn't. My sleep schedule did not thank me. Printing out a map of an unfamiliar campus I will be walking around is also a good idea (didn't first trip, did later). Those weren't the only things, either, but I am confident that if I am ever doing anything like this again I will remember those experiences and do better. Except for the part about dressing appropriately for the weather, I have a history of not caring enough about that to actually fix it. I seem to think staying warm is over-rated.

Lesson four: Do not neglect eating real food. Truly. Sitting at a table in a restaurant by yourself may be awkward, lonely, and sad, but if this is for more than, say, one day or one meal, your body prefers you to eat lonely real food than to subsist on coffee, chocolate, trail mix, and so on for days. (This would fall into the category of "things I'm going to do better if I do this again," not "things I did right this time").

The main lesson, though, really, is that things I am scared of are usually not as scary as I think they are. Fear can give a very skewed perspective of the problem.


  1. Sounds like a fun learning experience. I definitely agree to the eating real food. That can always help how you feel. Excited to hear the results of all the travel.