I rode the plane down on my AFF level 2.
The instructor prepped me for an exit from one aircraft (otter). Then, the dropzone switched the planes on us to skyvan a few minutes before the call, and I now had to learn a new exit. Then, my instructors got switched around, and I found someone whose name I didn't know on my main side. Why it didn't occur to me to ask the guy his name, I have no idea, but we never really got introduced before getting on the plane.
If it were one of those things (the exit/plane, or the new instructor), I probably would've been okay, but having both happen on a five minute call was too much when I was already nervous because my instructor had pulled for me on my first jump. I'd grabbed my instructor's altimeter instead of my main handle when it came time to pull, so having someone I didn't know on my main side was freaking me out. When the door opened, I realized I was soooo not in the right headspace to make a safe skydive. It would've gone badly. So, I told the instructors I wasn't going. They were both totally cool about it and didn't pressure me. The guy who was reserve side rode the plane back down with me, and the other guy whose name I didn't catch went for a jump after making sure I was okay, which I was, after realizing they'd let me stay in the plane. It was a really awful feeling, but it was the right decision for me to make under the circumstances. That didn't make me feel any better about it at the time, though.
I decided to do a tandem after I landed and thought it over for a bit, and I asked for John, the instructor on my first tandem two weeks earlier. The dropzone was happy to accommodate, and we went up and had a great skydive. He was so relaxed that I felt stupid being nervous, I knew he wasn't going to let me wuss out, and he knew I wanted to skydive, so we were on the same page there. We did as much of a level 2 AFF as we could tandem style, so it was a learning jump, and he helped turn a really horrible day into something good.
I went back to the dropzone a few days later to watch the swoopers, John saw me sitting on the bench and reminded me that skydiving is really not a spectator sport, and talked me into giving level 2 another try. I passed that day. However, if I hadn't gotten back in the air the same day for a tandem after my first try at level 2, I'm not sure I'd have been able to talk myself into going back. A couple people really went out of their way to talk to me about what happened and make me feel comfortable giving it another go, and that made a huge difference.
What you guys do every day, the things you say to students, the little things that you probably don't remember the next day or week, they matter to us. This was nine years ago, and that one day made such a huge difference in my life, because if one or two people had done something differently, I'd never have jumped again, wouldn't have passed AFF, gotten my A license, my B license, gone to WFFC and Prairie, and met so many of you awesome people. Even to those tandem students that you never see again, what all you instructors do really makes a difference.