Trying to Melt an Iceberg: My Stutter and I
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Health and Wellness

Trying to Melt an Iceberg: My Stutter and I

A glimpse into the life of a person with a stutter, and their journey to melt their inner iceberg.

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Trying to Melt an Iceberg: My Stutter and I
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Sidenote: This story and plot are fictional.

MONDAY 8:00AM

RE: Application Status

"Thank you for submitting your application for the _____ position! We would like to schedule an interview with you sometime this week. Please send us your availability for this Friday"

Waking up to this email livened up the morning! After more than 15 internship applications, I finally received an interview. After quickly responding to the email, I got myself ready for class.

As I was showering, I repeated my rote exercises:

"Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday"

Again.

"One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten"

Again.

"January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December"

Again.

Then when I was brushing my teeth, I mentally reviewed the necessary steps to prepare for the interview.

  1. Review the organization and its work (Monday)
  2. Write script for interview (Monday)
  3. Read aloud and memorize notes from script (Tuesday-Thursday)
  4. Practice in front of camera (Thursday)
  5. Do actual interview (Friday)

As I finished dressing myself, I looked at my watch; "It's 8:50! I'm going to be ready for my 9:00am class!". Subsequently, I ran out the door and down 3 flights of stairs.

The iceberg starts to appear.

MONDAY 9:00PM

"Nick, we're ordering take-out! What do you want?" my roommate Kevin shouted from the living room.

"Get me… Get me, theeee... Sesame Chicken combo! Remember the egg roll this time!" I yelled from my bedroom.

"K, see you later!" Roger added, as him and Kevin left the dorm to get take-out.

It was perfect timing, as I just finished my foreign language homework, and needed to start drafting my notes for my interview Friday.

TUESDAY 2:00AM

I am dead tired. After studying the organization in-depth, and writing the answers to potential 20 interview questions, my eyes are burning, and I rest my head on the table.

"Please let this interview go well, please let this interview go well" I repeat to myself.

After brushing my teeth, I then did my nightly rote exercises on my phone:

  • "Hm… how are you?"
  • "Hm… good morning?"
  • "Hm… I am a student at _____university."

23 other "hm" exercises later...

  • "Hm… Good Night"

The Iceberg fully appears.

TUESDAY 8:00AM

*alarm rings*

"Ugh, that was too late of a night" I think to myself as I get ready for another day of classes.

In the shower, I do my rote exercises:

"Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday"

Again.

"One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten"

Again.

"January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December"

Again.

I then head off to class earlier, because yes, I actually learn from my mistakes.

The Iceberg floats.

TUESDAY 9:00PM

After creating the outline for my history essay due on Sunday, and studying for my literature test on Thursday, I began to recite my interview questions.

Q: Tell me about yourself

A: "My nameee is Nick ___, andddd I am a student at ___universityyy studying ______…".

TUESDAY 11:00PM

After reciting my interview answers for 2 hours, I sound raspier than Carol Channing.

"Guys, I'm going to the cafe to get some coffee. Dooo you guys want anything?"

"No, we're good" Kevin and Roger both reply.

TUESDAY 11:15PM

"Hi, how may I help you?" the barista asked.

"I...I… I… hm… I… sorry…-"

"It's fine honey take your time" she added.

I smiled in appreciation, started to move my hands, and stated "I'll have a large iced coffee"

The iceberg enlarges.

WEDNESDAY 2:00AM

I am dead tired again, but I have memorized half of my interview answers. Please let this interview go well, please.

After brushing my teeth, I then did my nightly rote exercises on my phone:

  • "Hm… how are you?"
  • "Hm… good morning?"
  • "Hm… I am a student at _____university."

23 other "hm" exercises later...

  • "Hm… Good Night"

The iceberg continues growing.

WEDNESDAY 8:00AM

*alarm rings*

"I have to do what I have to do" I tell myself as I get up exhausted in the morning.

In the shower, I do my rote exercises:

"Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday"

Again.

"One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten"

Again.

"January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December"

Again.

I then head off to my classes.

The iceberg floats.

WEDNESDAY 9:00PM

After studying intensely for my literature test, and writing the introduction and 1st body paragraph to my history essay, I go back to memorizing my interview answers.

Q: What is your greatest weakness?
A: I… I… I would say my greatest weakness is _____, be...because"

THURSDAY 1:00AM

My eyes are burning again, but unlike last night, I have finally gotten through all of my interview answers. All I have to do tomorrow is review them in front of my computer camera, to practice face-to-face interviewing. I feel more relaxed and more prepared for Friday.

After brushing my teeth, I then did my nightly rote exercises on my phone:

  • "Hm… how are you?"
  • "Hm… good morning?"
  • "Hm… I am a student at _____university."

23 other "hm" exercises later...

  • "Hm… Good Night"

The iceberg starts melting.

THURSDAY 8:00AM

*alarm rings*

"Yes, I'm tired but I get out early today. As soon as I get out of class, I need to start practicing my answers in front of the computer" I remind myself.

In the shower, I do my rote exercises:

"Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday"

Again.

"One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten"

Again.

"January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December"

Again.

Then I headed off to my literature class to take my test.

THURSDAY 2:00PM

With my coffee in my hand, I start practicing my interview answers in front of my computer camera. I also leave the window open to simulate noise and distractions while I practice.

*While looking at myself in front of camera*

Q: Tell me about yourself

A: "My name is Nick ___, and I am a student at ___university studying ______…".

THURSDAY 6:00PM

*Sighs* "I am finally done" I tell myself, closing my computer. I then decided to take a walk to give myself a mental break.

"Hey Nick! How have you been?" Chelsea, my friend, asked.

"Oh my gosh! Hi Chelsea! I'm doing ok! I… I… I literally just finished practicing for an interview tomorrow"

"What for?"

"It's for this position with ____. They seem… they seem pretty great!"

"That's cool! Oh my gosh I'm so proud of you! I was actually about to get dinner, do you want to go with me?"

"Sure, yeah let's go!"

THURSDAY 10:00PM

After returning from dinner and drafting the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs of my history essay, I then began a final review of all of my interview questions in front of my computer camera.

THURSDAY 11:00PM

Finally, after reviewing the final time, I felt ready for the interview.

After brushing my teeth, I then did my nightly rote exercises on my phone:

  • "Hm… how are you?"
  • "Hm… good morning?"
  • "Hm… I am a student at _____university."

23 other "hm" exercises later...

  • "Hm… Good Night"

The iceberg melts more.

FRIDAY 8:00AM

*alarm rings*

Today is the day!

In the shower, I do my rote exercises:

"Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday"

Again.

"One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten"

Again.

"January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December"

Again.

Then after brushing my teeth, I got dressed in my suit and rushed out the door.

FRIDAY 8:45AM

"Hi, I'm… I'm… I'm… I'm..."

"Sir, habla español?" the receptionist asked.

"Sorry, I'm here for my interview with _______" I said to the receptionist.

"I'm sorry sir, do you mind repeating yourself again"

"I'm… I'm… I'm… I'm here to interview with _______" I repeated.

"Okay sir, so they are currently in a meeting, and will meet with you soon" she replied.

The iceberg began to freeze and grow again.

FRIDAY 9:00AM

"Nick, we're ready for you" the interviewer announced.

As I walked with the interviewer to their meeting room, I felt my nerves rise again, and my inner iceberg harden and grow large. I became cognizant of my breathing and began to take large and slower breaths. The iceberg stopped growing.

"Now that you are here, let's begin the interview. For your reference, I also have brought in ____, who you would also be working with if you are brought onboard".

"Nice… to meet you" I replied. The iceberg began to grow slowly again.

*banging heard from outside*

"Sorry about that, we are having construction on the building"

"That's fine" I replied again.

The iceberg grew larger.

"Okay, so tell me about yourself" ____ asked.

In that moment, from having to repeat myself to the receptionist, to the unexpected 2nd interviewer, to the construction outside, to my nerves, I felt my iceberg grow uncontrollably. However, I practiced too hard to flub this interview.

I took a deep breath, zoned out all of the noise, reminded myself to start my sentences with "hm", leaned forward, looked the interviewer in the eye, and spoke.

"Hi, my name is Nick ______, I am a student at ____ University, and I am studying ______. I chose to study this because …"

As I answered their various questions using my rote exercises and vowel stretches, stretched my fingers, kept control of my breath, and decreased my nerves, I felt my iceberg melt again.

FRIDAY 10:00AM

"Thank you Nick for this interview! Would you like to take a tour of the office?" the 2nd interviewer asked.

"Yes, that sounds great!" I replied.

By using my various techniques, my iceberg of stuttering and nerves had melted; not completely, but to a more manageable.

While my stuttering and the iceberg will remain with me for the rest of my life, at least I knew how to manage it.

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