My job as a facilitator/teacher at Sub/Urban Justice just started on Thursday. Essentially, S/UJ is a summer program where high schoolers learn about social justice issues in the context of American society and their own lives, and they learn about how to change the world a little bit through community organizing. I did S/UJ last year, but not as a full-blown staff member. The other three on staff and I have been working on the curriculum for weeks, but yesterday was the first day of the program.
I was nervous as hell.
Nervous because maybe I didn’t know my stuff well enough to explain it, and maybe none of the 25 participants would like me, and maybe on top of that I would be super awkward or mix up their names or something random and embarrassing would happen. An hour or so before the participants were supposed to arrive I was eating lunch in Harvard Square. A turkey sandwich on an everything bagel. I tried to direct every ounce of energy towards eating that bagel. I was worried that if I didn’t, I would explode from so much anxiety.
And then the time kept passing and I was pushed towards the inevitable beginning of what I had been prepping for since June. I stepped into the main room, with two dozen people I didn’t know, and I suddenly felt much better. They all seemed friendly.
So we went through the agenda - icebreakers, name games, talking about social justice issues (which I won’t get into here), more icebreakers, got pizza. By the end of the day I remembered why I love Sub/Urban Justice. We were well-prepared to facilitate. We got to walk down to the Charles River. The whole group engaged in meaningful discussions, on the first day! AND we had fun! Nervousness cured.