I wouldn’t say that I’m a particularly outgoing individual. Normally, the idea of going to an event alone, without anyone I know being there, would completely freak me out. I like the comfort of having a friend there who I can follow about and get introduced to people by. So, God knows why I signed up for a 10 day volunteering scheme 200 miles away, on my tod.
While procrastinating from my final essays of university, I was scouring my emails for job opportunities and came across a message from my course leader concerning Cheltenham Literary Festival. I signed up to volunteer, almost as just something else to do for thirty minutes instead of writing my essays. About two months later I was having a telephone interview in my lunch break, out the back of the pub I work in. To be honest, I didn’t really expect much to come from applying on a whim. I was shocked I was actually chosen for an interview. Several months later I found myself on a train to Cheltenham, just me and my little bag. I was a bit terrified to say the least. I realised I was surrounded by people I didn’t know, who all seemed to know each other, and I was completely stuck.
My actual worst nightmare come to life.
I find it amazing that from this, I went on to have one of the best, most fulfilling experiences. Forcing myself to speak to people and put myself in situations I’d otherwise avoid, made me realise how outgoing I can actually be. I made amazing friends, some of who I’m still in contact with. I met incredible people; Richard Curtis, Ruth Jones, and Simon Mayo to name a few. I was overwhelmed by how rich and motivating the entire festival was for me. I realised I was good at the things I wanted to do and although you can’t make everyone like you, you meet the loveliest of people in the weirdest scenarios. I went to parties and helped at book signings and saw Michael Morpurgo in real life.
This year I hope I find more opportunities to say ‘yes’ to. I want to do more things that are out of my comfort zone. I don’t want to always feel safe. It’s good to sometimes feel vulnerable and create a stronger you out of it. I know this was only a tiny little thing in the grand scheme of things, but I’m quite proud of myself. I applied for a thing, I was chosen for the thing, and I made the absolute most out of the experience.
Here’s to 2019 being full of fulfilling opportunities and chances to say yes to more.