My experience attending the Culinary Institute was quite different than high school. Other than having to retake math in B-block, I was doing fairly well in my classes and while I knew I had support with classes if I needed it, I didn't use it very often. Being in bakeshop classes the majority of the time in working towards my Associates degree, I didn't have a strong need for help until I reached the bachelor's program, even then I just needed it for extra time on tests.
I knew I struggled in some of my baking classes with fine hand skills such as piping, cutting and icing, but thought it was just because I didn't have enough practice. It wasn't until I reached my 2nd term practical and realized exactly how much my NF impacted my ability to do certain tasks. I had trouble piping éclairs, icing a cake, slicing apples and cutting apple strips. It wasn't that I lacked the passion or knowledge, but the way my hands were able to work and maneuver. I didn't quite have the ability to finely grasp the tools and manipulate them properly. This cut deeply into my confidence and my belief that I truly had the ability and passion to be here. What kind of baker can't ice their own cake correctly?
These problems severely impacted my confidence to find a good externship. I was nervous about going into the real world and tackle cakes. The situation would no longer be a classroom setting, where it's okay to not be perfect, but real cakes and real customers. What would my boss think? I finally found an externship site near Hyde Park in Kingston, in a bakery where based on reviews from other students, would possibly be a place to grow and learn. I quickly realized, as early as my first day, how wrong that would be for me. The bakery turned out to be owned by a small family with three brothers, all CIA trained, in the bakery business since they were children and were burnt out, bitter and miserable, seeking to make everyone else not like them as miserable as them.