Life After Undergrad: How I overcame my fear of public speaking

In 2008, my very first college class was at 8am, on a Monday, and my commute was an hour and a half long. That class by the way, was public speaking 101. On the first day of class the professor handed us the list of assignments and dates they were due and there were at least 6 or 7 instances where I’d have to get up and speak to the class. I loathed public speaking and to make it worse, I’d found out I was pregnant a week into the semester. So now not only did I have to get up in front of the room and give a speech now I’d be doing it while pregnant.

I considered dropping the class but by the time I mulled over that choice it was too late to do it. So, instead I opted for trying to get the professor to excuse me– which he didn’t. He told me the whole point of this class was to break students out of their fear of public speaking and at the same time make us self advocates. At the time I was totally over it and wanted no parts, I figured I could do the bare minimum to pass and never look back. What I didn’t know though, was that the skills I took away from that class would serve me for years to come.

When I became a mother I also became an advocate for Ava. Seeing as she was a baby and couldn’t speak everything she needed came from me. At doctors appointments, in school and anywhere else she went I had to speak up and make sure her needs were met. Part of my being able to do that was learning valuable communication skills and not only did these skills serve Ava; they served me too.

When my transcript got sent to the wrong school I had to speak up and get it fixed, when my credits were applied incorrectly I had to speak up and get it fixed and most of all when I felt I was done wrong or disrespected, I had to speak up and get it fixed.

All of these instances would be much tougher had I not learned how to communicate. When I got to City Tech I quickly found my major meant a lot of communicating and a lot of self advocacy. I became regarded for my communication skills in and out of the classroom, which led to multiple opportunities to work on campus. Overall now that I look back that public speaking class was probably the best thing I ever did for myself– even if it was at 8am (LOL). My takeaway here is, challenge yourself, be a little uncomfortable but most of all be a better you!

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