I don't like to talk on the phone.
It's been true all my life. Just ask my friend LK - we've been best friends since kindergarten and now we live in different states, but we hardly ever talk on the phone and we really never did. There's something about being on the phone that feels really awkward to me - like I'm not quite myself. And I seem to have trouble expressing myself over the phone, like I can't think fast enough or make the words come out straight, especially with people I haven't actually met in person.
Because being on the phone generally makes me feel uncomfortable, I tend to avoid talking on the phone unless absolutely necessary. And, much to the chagrin of my family, I often fail to pick my phone up all together. Just ask my sister - she regularly calls APL's phone when she wants to talk to me. So maybe you can imagine how I felt when I discovered I would be participating in a phone interview yesterday.
I recently applied to volunteer as a counselor at Camp JRA, a summer camp for kids with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases. The camp is designed to teach kids how to take control of their health conditions, but also gives kids a chance to have fun and participate in activities in an environment where they won't be judged. It looks pretty awesome. I'd really like to get involved because I really enjoyed giving back to the arthritis community during the Jingle Bell Walk. I also feel that my accomplishments and ability to stay optimistic since getting diagnosed with RA would make me a good role model for kids dealing with similar illnesses. From a more personal perspective, considering how much I have learned from an 11-year-old that I've never even met, I think these amazing kids would have a lot to teach me as well. It's something I would really like to be involved in.
So I was a little disappointed with myself after the phone interview yesterday. For starters, I was frazzled before it even started because I almost missed the call due to trouble with my phone. About 10 minutes before, I plugged my phone in to my laptop to make sure the battery would last through the whole interview. But I forgot that I had downloaded the new version of iTunes, so instead of just charging the battery my phone started reformatting, which took several minutes and almost didn't finish in time. So I was nervous from the start.
On top of that, though I actually have considerable experience working with kids (tutoring, teaching swimming, coaching, Girl Scouts), it didn't help that it has been quite a few years since I last had the opportunity to work with kids. Since my recollections of these experiences are less clear, I had a little trouble answering some of the more detailed questions about working with kids. Which, of course, only increased my nervousness - resulting in a semi-horrible feedback loop.
While I really do think I'd make a great camp counselor, especially for kids dealing with rheumatic diseases, I don't know how well I actually managed to express that in the interview. I hung up the phone with a feeling of awkwardness and a certainty that I hadn't really put my best self forward. I hope I still get the opportunity to volunteer, but I'm not sure I'll be selected.
Ultimately, I'm sure the camp staff will make whatever choices they think will bring the best camp situation for the kids - which is really what is most important here. And, even if I don't get selected, I'll feel like I accomplished something by going outside my comfort zone for a really good cause.