Monday was Labor Day, so this week was what has traditionally been the first week back to school for students across the United States. I figured it’s an appropriate time to return to studying myself, exploring how I can continue to grow, and blogging about what I’ve learned.
This week I returned to the UC Berkeley campus, and will be there at least three times a week for the rest of the year. It fees a little weird, because after I graduated from business school in May of 2010, I thought I was done with Berkeley (and happily brought all of my Stanford gear out of hiding). I was wrong.
I am now back on campus as a member of Main Stacks, Berkeley’s competitive hip hop dance group. This first week of practice reminded me of a lesson I failed to retain in the months since I first learned it.
To be completely honest, I was more apprehensive about the prospect of getting into Main Stacks than I was about the audition process itself.
Will I be able to keep up? Will I fit in? I don’t go to UC Berkeley. I’m not even a student anymore. What should I say when they ask me what year I am? I am SO old! What will they think when they find out?
Within the first two practices, the members of Main Stacks completely disarmed the worries that whirled around in my head. To them, I wasn’t defined by my student status, where I lived, or anything else that I’ve done in the 10 years since I was their age. I was just another girl who loves to dance. And even when they did find out about all that other stuff, the response has been, contrary to my worst fears, overwhelmingly positive. Usually it’s been something like “Get it!”, “OMG wow!”, or “I thought you were 21! You must have Asian-face.”
My mental model (i.e. the set of beliefs that influence my perception of the world) was focused on fear of how I was different, while theirs has been centered around excitement to dance with and get to know a new person. I forgot that when it comes to mental models, I have the power to choose my thoughts. Focusing on how I was different just stressed me out and made me afraid to introduce myself. So why not switch to a mental model that makes me feel better?
Main Stacks, thank you so much for welcoming me into your family. I am super excited to dance with you all this year, and look forward to learning more from all of you!