How do you talk to people – By @eudaimonicr
By Rachael Simoes
How do you talk to people
One of the main issues I went to our inhouse life coach, Alex Mecklenburg, with was how to speak to mentors. I’m not unique when I feel weird and unnatural when I’m in an environment that encourages networking. Upon reflection with my friend outside of SCA, I realised why I may find it more of an alien activity than others.
Me and my friend, Dubheasa, met on a photography course put in place for people aged 18-25 from ethnically diverse and low-income backgrounds to get a foot in the door in the creative industry. When we met, she had a degree in politics and I had just finished my A-levels with a few film courses in my back pocket. Both of us, however, have the privilege of occupying art spaces that don’t have people from our background in mind. We both know many people that are more creatively talented and inclined than us but would never think they belong on the same course me and Dubheasa met on. This is something I had always wondered about my friends but something Dubheasa empathetically put into words.
We got onto the topic of private school kids (or public?) and how they carry themselves in comparison to state school kids, as it’s something I’ve noticed since arriving at the SCA. It may also be a matter of me being slightly younger and less experienced in certain areas than my classmates, but I’ve been struggling to understand how they break into conversation immediately with some of the guest speakers/mentors that come in. I can ask a question if I think of one, but what else do I have to say apart from that even if I find them inspiring?
I went to private school for a year in Spain when I was 12. It’s hard to remember if they instilled any values of confidence or entitlement compared to the public school I went to the year after. But while discussing this with Dubheasa, she also recognises that people who come from a private school in the UK tend to be more fearless of rejection, or even more likely to have the idea to ask something of someone with more experience that they don’t know. By all means, this is undeniably a great aspect to have and I’m in awe of a lot of my classmates for having it. It just means it’s something I have to come to understand and catch up on.
Alex recommended I look at these mentors in a different light. A good amount of them are being paid to help us, and probably all of them will feel a personal sense of satisfaction to help others. She recommended that if I admire someone and want to talk to them, I take a minute to step back and think what specifically I could ask them. It sounds simple, but by large it’s still a foreign concept to me.
Having that conversation with Dubheasa provided me with solidarity on something I was quite insecure about. I’m excited to work on my reaching-out skills and learn basic social etiquette from my fellow private-school classmates.