Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Getting Over My Glossophobia

Today, I had to face one of my fears. I know that many people my age also share the same phobia of speaking in public! Thankfully, Jennifer Madden came to the rescue and touched base with the whole class about public speaking. This was the first part of the class. We discussed the criteria of being great public speaker, with emphasis on inflection, charisma, body language, articulation, and delivery. The biggest point that stuck out to me was eye contact. I learned how important it is. It's kind of ironic how in other countries, eye contact can be a sign of aggression or disrespect, but in America, it is encouraged especially in public speaking. It shows confidence and creates a more personal connection between you and the reader. I definitely need to work on gaining enough confidence so I could have more eye contact with my audience when speaking.

Before we were dismissed for lunch, Jennifer told us to pick two topics and write them on a piece of paper. That was the easy part. Then she said we will have 2 minutes to come up with a speech to present to the class after lunch. I wanted to assume the fetal position and hope to melt away. However, I got over it and in the end, had to deliver a speech about the film we watched yesterday, Miss Representation. I kind of struggled only because I kept thinking in my native language Tagalog, and every time I tried to deliver my thoughts, I wanted to speak Tagalog! I was super nervous about it but in the end got through it. One of the Leader Fellows even said that I did a great job in picking my thoughts back up and correcting myself when I started playing with my fingers. That was great encouragement. After that, we just discussed our Action Plans and class was over. My Action Plan is still under wraps, but I’m sure to share it when it makes sense.

The last part of today’s class was our second Community Time, from 7 to 9 PM. Our first activity centered on how society divides everybody into groups of minorities and majorities. We were asked to close our eyes as Christina handed us pieces of construction paper. I never feel comfortable with closing my eyes for a long time in public, so I definitely felt anxious about the whole thing. I trusted her though, and when she told us to open our eyes I found a square shaped piece of red construction paper in my hand. She then told us to form groups, but in silence. She gave us so little instruction; I think she meant for it to be that way. My personal instinct told me to group with the people with the same color paper and I guess everybody did so too. The whole activity related us to how society works nowadays and we discussed how we felt about it. I was surprised at how relatable the other student’s stories about feeling pressured of opposed in society were despite all of our different backgrounds.

Due to confidentiality issues; I don’t think I can reveal much about our second activity. Our Leader Fellows don’t want other students to know exactly what we did because they want them to have the exact same experience we had. Honestly, I never thought I would be so emotionally engaged in the activity to the point that I’d burst out crying. The activity made me realize just how grateful I am in being where I stand today, not only physically but also mentality. I think that my mindset has changed and I am far beyond motivated to make my dreams come true. I definitely feel like a stronger young woman. I also realized that no one is really alone in whatever they are going through. We are all vulnerable in our own ways and instead of using that vulnerability to isolate us from the rest, it should be built upon. Sharing what made us vulnerable really was a way to relate with each other and find strength in the unity we all formed. I never expect to form such deep bonds with these strangers I met this week, but maybe I should start accepting that by calling them my friends. I felt more at home in Brown. It’s bittersweet because I’ve also been getting so close to the rest of my cohort and I really don’t want us all to separate next week.

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