Monday, March 26

Branching Out: Join a New Club!

Hi everybody! Thanks for stopping by the Teen Fiction Café. My name is Wendy Toliver, and my novel, The Secret Life of a Teenage Siren, is hitting bookshelves this December.

When I was in high school, I liked to play sports and be in musicals. Those two took up a lot of my time, and most of my friends were involved in one or the other. Around my junior year, I decided I’d add some more academic extra-curriculars to my resume, thinking it would be a bonus for getting scholarships.

I signed up for Speech Team, also known as Debate Team or Forensics in some schools. This was quite the shift in social circles, and more than once I asked myself what I was thinking. Especially at six in the morning on a Saturday, surrounded by unfamiliar coffeehouse dwellers in their cool eyeglasses and black clothes. I’m an outgoing sort, so being surrounded by strangers wasn’t too mortifying for me, but I have to admit that when I was sitting in another high school’s cafeteria, waiting for my round, I would’ve paid someone to come over and say, “Good luck!” or “You’re going to do great!” (Where’s your mom when you need her? haha) But the thing about Speech Team is, you very well might be competing against anyone in the whole cafeteria, and they take their wins very seriously. So it’s not like everybody’s buzzing around being nice. Might also have something to do with it being so dang early in the morning, now that I think about it.

When it was my turn to compete, I’d go into my assigned classroom and take a seat. The other students sized me up while I fumbled through my notes, hoping I wouldn’t freeze when it was my turn. And when I was up, I’d be speaking to icy glares, which wasn’t that great when I was trying to be funny. In time, I started earning good scores, and by the end of the season, I could totally hold my own against the others. I was even having fun and making friends -- taking it upon myself to make cafeteria time a time to meet and greet fellow competitors. And believe it or not, I met a hottie from another school by being on the Speech Team.

Did you ever do anything completely out-of-character or out of your comfort zone for the greater good of your future? Or maybe just to see what it’s like? Tell me about it!


Jennifer Lynn Barnes said...

I was totally a clubber in high school- everything from the Table Tennis Federation (I once won the dark horse title at one of their tournaments) to the volleyball team and the yearbook staff. One club that I got involved with via my friends was definitely something new for me, but I ended up really loving it- the Multicultural Awareness Club. I felt a little hesitant about joining, because I always felt like I didn't really have a culture (my family's been in the midwest so long that I have no idea where we were from before that), but MAC was great- we made floats for the MLK Day Parade, learned traditonal Indian dancing, and organized a Culture Fest for the local elementary and middle schools, complete with booths on cultures from all over the world (some of which I even got to adopt as my own).

My middle school club schedule was possibly an even weirder combination- I was a cheerleader, a mathlete, the newspaper editor, and a drama geek all at once. :)

bevrosenbaum said...

Nope--I pretty much stuck to drama and dance. But the cool thing was that my tenth grade gym teacher's daughter was (unbeknownst to me)a student at my ballet school, and at the end of year show, he saw me perform a big solo. The next day in gym class he said I was great and he asked me to lead the class warmup--which was hugely gratifying because I sucked big time at sports!

Trish Milburn said...

Wendy, I saw the address for this blog over on the GH loop, so decided to come check it out. Cute. And too funny your post was about Speech Team. I was on my school's team, and I remember those early mornings sitting in cafeterias. :)

Wendy Toliver said...

Jennifer, too funny about table tennis, and I wonder if many high schools have MAC or similar? Sounds like a lot of fun!

Bev, I took ballet in college and it gave me a whole new appreciation for dancers. Do you still dance?

Trish, wonderful to see you here! Hope you stop by often and congrat's on being a GH finalist.


Aryn Kennedy said...

I went for Avant Garde in high school - our fancy name for flag-twirling. It only lasted a year, but man was my right arm packed with muscle for that year! Sadly, said muscle didn't continue into the rest of my body.

Kelly Parra said...

My freshman year I wanted to be part of the student body, so I went for heading the recycling team. haha. Not really my thing, but it turned out I did something good for the school and I just sort of branched out from there! :)

Sara Hantz said...

Every year I had to enter the local Eisteddfod (Welsh word for music competitions - not that we lived in Wales). I played the piano.... I used to get so scared. I can remember it now, lol!

bevrosenbaum said...

Wendy, I did take some jazz and ballet classes up until recently, but I had to stop due to back problems and now vertigo. Both are getting treated, so hopefully I'll be able to return to the dance studio real soon! I call myself a recovering dancer. It's like a disease. You never stop wanting to dance once the bug hits. Besides, who would want to take a boring old exercise class when you can dance!!!

Wendy Toliver said...

Aryn the flag-twirler! That's great! :)

Kelly, I've never heard of a recycling team. That's really cool! I wonder if they're the ones who headed the massive shunning and blackballing efforts when kids were spotted putting a can in the trash instead of the recycle bin. That's about how it was at my college, anyway.

Sara, I played the piano too. Did your hands shake when you'd get nervous? I always hated that because the more nervous I was, the more my hands shook, and the more my hands shook, the worse I played and the more nervous I was. Argh!

Bev, I'm so glad that dance is still in your future. You go girl!

Thanks for checking in, everybody!

~~ Wendy

Alyson Noel said...

Hmmm, not really, I just wasn't looking that far ahead. Though, after graduation I bought a ticket to London and flew there by myself- thus beginning a life long love of travel!

Nadine Dajani said...

Hmm... I'm not usually a step-out-of-my-comfort-zone kinda gal. I was a total wallflower in high school, which honestly, if I could go back in time and sternly lecture my former self about, I would. I hung out with the too-cool-for-extracurricular activities crowd which didn't help.

The biggest thing I ever did along those lines was to learn salsa dancing in my early 20s - I thought I had two left feet so it qualified as a pretty gutsy move. And guess what - now I can dance! What wouldn't we accomplish if we just had a little more faith in ourselves and weren't so terrified of failure?

Wendy Toliver said...

I have to hand it to you, Alyson, you're way braver than me. I can't imagine traveling to a foreign country alone. I'm impressed!

And speaking of being impressed, that's great you can salsa dance (and dance in general now), Nadine. But I'm having a hard time picturing you as the wallflower type, I have to admit. :)

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