You’ve Got Nerve

I have really mixed feelings about public speaking. I did a LOT of public speaking in high school, but my school was extremely small compared to others. I’ll never forget my first class speech in my freshman year of high school– I had to present on seasonal allergies, and the first thing out of my mouth was “sneeze-onal allergies.” Presenting to small groups (especially with something scripted) has always been more exciting than nerve-wracking for me. However, since going under the radar (as much as over-involved Michelle can be) in college and not joining many clubs or hosting events that required public speaking, I’ve definitely grown a bit more nervous. Recently I performed a slam poem that I wrote to a small group (about 10 people??) and I’ve never been so nervous– but that’s also a lot more personal than my thesis, although I’m always a bit nervous talking about my thesis because I worked so hard on it and I feel like it can be so easily dismissed, not understood, or argued against. In summary, I used to be the queen of public speaking; now, it’s a bit of a rare thrill under the right conditions.

Luckily, I firmly believe that our honors conference will have those “right conditions.” Even for our roundtable discussions, it seems like everything is going to be scripted– and I appreciate that. I bet on-the-fly conversations would be fascinating, but I definitely don’t feel confident enough to engage in such a discussion without having done my research and having at least bullet point notes in advance. I’ve really enjoyed the three presentations I’ve done in my classes so far this semester, and for each of these I had a set of notes and felt informed enough to take questions and share my interest for the topic. I have no doubts that our conference will be any different and, although I’m worried people will not understand or “like” my thesis, I feel like the speaking portion isn’t a big concern of mine!

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