Today was a terrifyingly wonderful day for me. I attended my very first public speaking class at College of San Mateo! If you guys know me, you’d probably know how deathly afraid of public speaking I am. Public speaking, never my thing. But after struggling with this fear for most of my life, I decided that enough was enough. I don’t want to live my life in fear. So, a month ago, I signed up for public speaking class at CSM. I knew this is a very popular class among college students, and since college students get the priority in registering for classes, I assumed I would be wait listed.
Well, to my relief, I WAS wait listed. Except I didn’t realize that students on the wait list were still allowed to attend the class, until I received an email from the professor- two days in to the course. When I saw that I was being sent all this info about the course syllabus and assignments, I made the fortuitously dreadful discovery that I was, indeed, enrolled. Which meant that I had to go to public speaking class after all.
When I found out initially, I had a little freak out session because I was REALLY dreading the class. I knew I didn’t have to go- the class was free, as are all community college classes to high schoolers, so it’s not like I’d be wasting money by not attending. But I knew if I took the easy way out by avoiding the very thing that scares me most, I’d be depriving myself of an insanely valuable opportunity. I mean, a 6-week class devoted 100% to public speaking. FOR FREE. I needed to do this, challenge myself, push myself outside of my comfort zone.
So this morning was the first 2 hour session I attended. We had this assignment called the “Identity Art Project”, where each person made a piece of artwork that illustrated different components of his/her identity. When it came time for me to present my poster, I was nervous. Surprisingly, though, I wasn’t as nervous as I expected to be. I didn’t feel as if I were about to vomit or pass out. I felt the butterflies in my stomach and the usual tensing of the facial muscles, but other than that, I was composed.
I was a little nervous in the beginning, but as I got into the flow of the presentation I became very relaxed. It helps to talk about something you are very familiar with- in this case, myself. I remember enjoying the limelight and being able to share my story with the twenty other people in the room. I really feel so good I showed up to class today and presented. I’m proud of myself for facing my fears, no matter how difficult. Already I feel more confident as a speaker!
Tomorrow I have another day of class… I’m surprisingly very excited- a little nervous, yes, but mostly excited! Can’t wait to see where my journey with public speaking leads me.