The highlight of our lesson today was based on public speaking. Professor Jennifer Madden, our guest speaker, brought up many aspects of an effective public speaker and taught us how to apply these characteristics. We were divided into three groups to put this all to practice. We were given a randomly chosen topic, only one minute to prepare for our speech, and another few minutes to actually deliver the speech. Can this get any more nerve wrecking!? I'm so grateful that everybody was a great support system. I appreciated that everyone was so mature and supportive rather than judgmental. I suppose this type of behavior is something that I'm not used to. Back in De Anza, it takes a lot more effort for students to show respect to their peers. I was definitely more comfortable around this group, but I still found myself being nervous. My turn eventually came. The one minute of preparation felt like 10 seconds! My speech also went by quicker than I thought. Ms. Madden gave me honest feed back and I think I really needed that. She commented on my pacing and pauses. She assured to me that although I blanked out at one point, the pause seemed very natural to the eyes of the audience so there was no need to panic. Other than that, she complimented my confidence in my posture and eye contact. Ms. Madden was so genuine with everybody and it was truly a great session with her.
Now for my favorite part! Community Hour focused more on diversity and what it actually means. The second activity appealed to me the most because it really hit home since the questions were quite personal. They were not something that you'd usually share with a stranger. Before this entire experience, I've never imagined myself putting my personal issues out to people whom I've met only days ago. The situation is different now. Being surrounded by a wonderful circle of people made me open up and admit to my flaws without feeling embarrassed. I can't get into detail due to the ground rules, but after uncovering how different each person's social backgrounds were, I came to realize that social diversity should not be a barrier between groups of people. My classmate Jessica pointed out that before we were aware about each other's personal obstacles, we already gave off a sense of connection towards one another. That did not change even after learning about one another more through this activity. I feel that our bond grew even stronger at this point.
I also want to mention the emotional vulnerability that a lot of us felt during this activity. I was personally trying my absolute best not to break down, but I definitely felt a 10-pound lump in my throat for a reason that I'm not even sure of. After all the questions have been asked and answered, a lot of us had solemn, flushed appearances in our faces. As we went around the circle, we each said a word or phrase about our thoughts and feelings about the activity. I heard a lot of "moved", "inspired", "aware", and "grateful". However Destiney's stood out to me the most. "Behind every smile is a different story," she said, and suddenly broke down in tears. That was the last straw for me. Her tears brought tears to my eyes as well as a handful of other girls (ILCers included). I now realize that crying is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. It takes a lot of courage to able to show your true emotions and weaknesses. By the end of Community Hour, we came together with big bear hugs and decided to spend more quality time in someone's dorm room. It was loads of fun eating, singing, and laughing with the girls. I enjoy their company so much. I'm suddenly afraid that nine days is not enough.