There's a "networking event" on campus Friday evening. It's mandatory for students taking Management 321 (Effective Business Writing) because someone got it in their heads that a writing course should come bundled with the college trying to do something about Nevada's 14.3% worst-in-the-nation unemployment besides tell everyone they're special.
This is all well and good except for one problem; I'm about as good at "networking" as Glenn Beck is at not being an asshole. That is to say, drop me in a social situation with formal rules of procedure and I'm going to seize up like a car engine without any oil in it. This is a recipe for me cowering in fear, trying my level best to suck it up and doing very poorly at it to the point where I've started having nightmares again, and having a lively internal debate over whether the penalty (loss of half a letter grade in a class in which I'm already doing very poorly, to the point where I may end up with a C or worse by the end of the semester) is worth it.
I haven't been this freaked out over anything in life in years. I can't even figure out why exactly. The whole thing's going to be facilitated by the Career Counseling department of the College of Business, nobody in attendance is going to expect me---despite my age, still a third-year college student and regarded as such---to be anything other than horribly green about this whole process, and while I've never worn a suit and tie to an event in my 33 years on this planet, it's not like I can't dress myself like a big boy (even if I look positively ridiculous in a suit and tie, at least in the cognitive dissonance, perception of myself sense) and act like a grownup for a few hours.
But I am FREAKED THE FUCK OUT by this entire thing. I'm quiet. Introverted. Completely out of my depth when dealing with professionals because all I really want out of life is a computer, a basement office, and a stack of financial reports to compile and/or audit; I'm not a mover or a shaker and I'm often the only introverted student in the room in my business classes.
The chairman of the Accounting Department said at boot camp last month, "Business is not for introverts. You're going to have to get out there and sell yourself if you want to succeed." Which sounds like something a pimp would say to a whore, but ever since the chairman said that, I've felt an overwhelming sense that I don't belong, that I don't have a chance in hell of ever being successful, that all I will ever be is someone's pawn and that the world is closed off to me due to my failures socially and emotionally.
I probably should've majored in creative writing. At least people like it when I do that. There's a "career exploration" event and I'm pretty sure I'll be the only one there who's listed "creative writer" as his first choice of career. I am still on the record as saying I would leave all of this highfalutin' business stuff behind tomorrow if someone offered me a decent writing job at a decent rate of pay sufficient to pay off my student loans without forcing me to eat cat food and ramen noodles for every meal.
But hey, at least my readers like me just the way I am.