My rigorous two week public speaking class is OVER!!! I am glad that I’m finished with all the work of the class (except for the take-home final), but it was also sad because I had to say goodbye to all my newfound friends. It felt like the end of the year again.
It’s weird but even though we were only together for two weeks, we felt like we’d known each other for a really long time. We did see each other every day for four hours, but I think what really helped was the fact that we gave speeches in front of each other. In the spring semester I took a class called Music Cultures of the World. The class itself wasn’t that great, but I loved all the stuff we learned about other countries’ cultures. Something that has really stuck with me from that class is what we learned about karaoke.
Karaoke originated in Japan, and it was very popular for all kinds of parties and meetings. But even though karaoke was something fun to do, the Japanese valued it greatly. If they did have karaoke at a meeting, it wasn’t just something that some people did to show off in front of people. No, it was something everyone had to do. Even if someone claimed he couldn’t sing and was incredibly nervous, it was considered very rude if he didn’t get up there in front of everyone to do karaoke. It was just something they all did. I thought that was really cool. It was their ice breaker, and it made them feel more unified to see that everyone got up there and did it even if it was scary.
That’s kind of how I viewed my speech class. Almost every single day, we each had to take our turn standing in front of the class giving our speech. There were a couple of days that we didn’t have to give speeches, and I noticed that we weren’t as talkative on those days. When we had to get up in front of the class and talk, we were nervous and vulnerable. Many of the times we were up there, we were sharing stories and things about our personal lives. It opened us up to each other, and after the speeches were over, we felt closer to each other. We were all in it together, and we all improved dramatically. It was very encouraging to hear people say to me, “You looked SO much more comfortable up there!” and “You were SO much louder!” at the end of my speech today. We all worked very hard, and this is the closest I think I’ve ever felt to one particular class.
In just two weeks I got to know my class better than the classes I have for an entire semester! I would definitely recommend taking a two week class if you ever have the chance, but you must be willing to work extremely hard during that time and know that it is likely that at one time or another you will be stressed. I would also recommend taking a speech class. Many people are extremely scared of public speaking, but it’s actually lots of fun! I had an awesome teacher, and I definitely improved! I’m still the same naturally shy girl, but the next time I get up in front of a class to give a presentation, I’m gonna rock their socks off!
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