Facing Fears: Public Speaking
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Facing Fears: Public Speaking



At Rowan, it's required for everyone to take a public speaking course. Naturally, I've put it off for the longest time, afraid of getting a bad grade, afraid of stumbling on my words in front of my class.

Last semester, I heard that Rowan started to offer a public speaking course for those who suffer from anxiety. Even though it sounded more bearable, the workload was the same; the focus was more so on dealing with the nerves. I knew that taking that class was going to be my next move, but before I knew it, I found myself registering for a normal speaking course since the other class became full.

I emailed the professor immediately, asking how strict she graded on the actual performance of the speech and that I was worried that I'd mess up because of my anxiety. She basically gave me the rundown and it didn't sound too bad.

Four speeches later, I can now say that I faced a fear of mine. Throughout the first three speeches, I found myself occasionally getting lost in my thoughts, stumbling over words, and caring about what the other students were thinking. No matter how many times I rehearsed what I was going to say, in the back of my mind, I knew that I'd still mess up and look stupid.

In the middle of my third one, I kept getting lost in my index cards. I knew I had been pausing too frequently, so one of my options was to leave the room, but I knew that if I did, facing the class afterward would be even more awkward.

So, I prevailed.

Going into my last and final speech, I had a different approach. I was more than ready to just jump into it and I didn't let myself work up the nerves prior to my class. Instead, I had a much more laid back attitude about it.

I kept telling myself that it was only going to take up a few minutes of my life, and then after that, I'd be able to handle public speaking with some more ease. I also gently reminded myself that I need to stay focused at the moment and to not get swept away by the "what-ifs" and the worries.

The moment right before it was my turn to go, I made sure I mindfully breathed slowly to keep my heartbeat at a normal pace. During my speech, I found myself throwing in pieces of myself and my humor into it. I found that by embracing my sometimes awkwardness, it can make others more comfortable in such situations as well, creating a more peaceful environment. I found myself speaking to the crowd with confidence, all thanks to a calm and collected mindset.

To think that the thoughts of "I can't do it" ran through my mind before taking that class.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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