I have always been an anxious person. It’s not something I’m shy about, it’s just a personality trait of mine. Few things get me so nervous that it’s hard to function though. One of those things just happens to be public speaking.
I remember dreading taking public speaking in high school. I did not want to stand up there as a scared sophomore and make a fool out of myself. I’m pretty sure I still did, but only because I was so nervous about it all. Once that semester finished, I thought I would never have to face this fear again. However, I decided sometime in the past four years to major in Communication Studies at UCLA. Unfortunately for me, public speaking is a course that is required for that major.
Last year, I put off taking this class because I knew how terrible my fear was. I could imagine my hands shaking and sounding like I was going to cry in front of a room full of my peers. It was an experience I would really rather not experience again. My physical reaction to this fear was involuntary. It didn’t matter how much I wanted to be confident, I would always sound nervous and feel my heart racing in my chest. I knew though, that if I took my anxiety medications that I would be too fuzzy to function, something not worth it to me.
Starting school this year as a sophomore in college, I finally enrolled to take public speaking. For as long as I could (about three weeks) I put off presenting my first speech. It was a simple speech that aimed to critique a movie or a form of media. Even though this topic was easy, I still couldn’t help but dread the day I would have to stand up there. And with my luck, UCLA’s quarterback just so happened to be in my class.
Today though, I finally decided to end my personal torment and give my first speech. I talked about the romantic comedy Clueless and how it’s emphasis on appearance’s importance is still highly relevant to today’s society with social media. As I walked to the front of the room, I felt my hands shaking and my heart racing like I knew they would. Instead though, I focused on how passionate I was about this subject. Before I knew it, my speech was over and I received glowing feedback from my peers. The good feedback really helped make me feel more secure about my public speaking. Now I know that next time, my body may still react nervously as always, but I’ll be more confident knowing that public speaking really is not that bad.