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Presenting Sucks, But It's Necessary

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As VSB's semiannual case competition rapidly approaches, I am paralyzed by fear for what Saturday holds. Though I wish I could be a super confident person who brags about how much he or she loves presenting, I'm not.

While other people like to have their voice heard in the classroom, I actually enjoy taking tests and writing papers. I may be social around others and seem like an extrovert, but I really struggle when it comes to things like presenting. I get sweaty, I get shaky, and my voice occasionally quivers. Yeah sure, it can be embarrassing.

But that doesn't make me less of a student.

I remember the first time I realized I had difficulty presenting. I was newly a freshman in high school after my acceptance to an all girls, private institution. The second I got up to speak, I realized that I was in the presence of some of the smartest girls in my age group in miles. I presented, thought it went fine, but sat back down and was greeted by the type of review only a catty, self-conscious girl would give. "Why is your face like that?" I asked her what she- my new friend, mind you- meant and she went on to imitate me. She contorted her face to look a little scared and a little like she had to pee. I was mortified and so thankful that I was the only one to hear it.

Seven years later, I still think about that moment and how a single person whose opinion does not matter determined how several presentations and my perception of myself would be for years. Though I pity that girl for trying to make me feel bad about myself and distract me from getting an education, I use it as a reminder to be patient with others and always, always lift the people around me up.

With the case competition around the corner, I have to remind myself of my own strengths. I am a strong student, I always prepare extensively, and I bring many intelligent ideas to the table.

This time, I will let myself stutter a little bit if it means I can get all my ideas out. Presenting is tough. But in my pursuit of being a businesswoman in top positions, I better make it work.

I remember one professor last year saying something that really struck me. She warned us that she graded participation intensely and reminded us, "You may have great ideas, but if you don't say them out loud, no one is ever going to know them." Your boss isn't going to read all the slides to your PowerPoint and he or she sure as hell isn't going to read your full 5000 page report. Speaking articulately is important.

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