The Volunteer Experience: A Cooking Class Challenge

One of our Community Connections volunteers is working towards a placement at Nourish Hub’s community kitchen as a volunteer. They took an exciting first step towards this last week by enrolling in a Cookery Course there, and have generously shared their experience with us.

The morning of the cooking class I awoke with anxiety meandering through every vein of my body. I walked my dog that morning as I always do, only this time, I felt like I was walking on air. The anxiety took on a physical manifestation and I was worried. As the day progressed I was getting pretty nervous! I spoke to my sister whilst I walked there and the distraction helped. I arrived early and decided to just get past the first hurdle rather abruptly, to not think about it and just enter the nourish hub. That was stage one complete. I was the first to sit at the group table whilst slowly slowly people trickled in, with every new person I could feel my heart beat faster. I wasn’t sure if I was ready for this. Fear consumed me. Eventually everyone arrived. Once at the table we then had to go round everyone with each person answering the four questions to the group. I literally felt doomed and my heart sunk. It was a blessing in disguise, upon reflection, that I went second as I didn’t have to endure everyone’s answers with the anxiety mounting internally. I did it though! Stage two was, thankfully, complete! 

Stage three however, was entirely different and not what I expected at all!  The practical aspect of the cooking class started and whilst focusing on cooking and the task at hand, it was hard to worry simultaneously. I find cooking very therapeutic and thankfully that effect travelled to the group setting too. My anxiety started to dissipate the more involved I got. I also had a lovely partner and surprisingly we had a lot of laughs which was unexpected but truly awesome! The head chef guided us through making a Mexican bean chilli whilst giving some handy tips and tricks! Following that we made omelettes which we sat and all ate together. It had such a nice community feel with pockets of people scattered here and there talking to one another.

I still feel a bit nervous about the next group but I feel better equipped. I’ve realised and accepted that I really am quite a quiet person in group social settings, but that that’s ok! We’re all individuals and unique in our own way and our differences should be embraced. Considering how worked up I was getting, I feel today has been a huge success not just for my confidence but to realise other people aren’t in fact so scary! It’s ok to struggle in groups but that doesn’t mean you need to hide away and miss out on experiences. So yes, all in all I am very happy I attended and fought through my worries and anxiety!

– AMC (Community Connections Volunteer)
Interested in volunteering yourself? Find rewarding volunteer opportunities here!