I am only on my second semester in college. Yet, I often find myself under a lot of pressure and constantly frustrated. The main reason behind that is my Communication Through Speaking class.
Ever since the semester started, and whenever I would have a speech to make, I always recieved the same comments: It sounds rehearsed, it is memorized, try talking to your audience. Now, if I did not actually have some sort of background in public speaking I would just accept the comments. However, I knew I did not memorize my speeches, it just happens that I talk fast and know my material which gives my audience the impression that I learn my speeches by heart. I felt so frustrated throughout the semester to the point where I even considered dropping out of the course and taking it later on with another professor.
I ended up doing otherwise. I got a good grade on my midterm exam and thought I might as well give the whole thing a shot. The next speech was supposed to be persuasive and the only thing I had in mind was that I wanted to talk about The Bang Bang Club and Kevin Carter’s Vulture Picture. I spent a night trying to come up with something and luckily Jacob, my brother, was around and he gave me the idea of talking about ethics in photojournalism.
Basically, I have spent the last 10 to 12 days reading articles about the subject, checking out books from the library and watching all sorts of videos and speeches by photographers, such as James Nachtwey’s TED Prize acceptance speech. In a way, I felt like I was back to room 103 in YHS with Mrs. Fisher as a professor studying all sorts of interesting things about photojournalism.
Today, was the day. I had to give my speech, the last one to go. As my turn was coming up, I was getting nervous. The topic was something I held so much at heart that I felt I could not mess up. I spent more than a week preparing, I had to nail it! And hey! I DID! I went a bit overtime, but other than that my delivery was flawless! My professor said it was an excellent speech, she was impressed by the amount of work I had put in. She even said that the fact that I used a book by Susan Sontag was impressive because her work was not easy to understand and analyse but I had done so perfectly and mastered it.
Right now I am so happy and excited I could jump off roofs or run aimlessly or something. I am relieved that my efforts are finally getting recognized and that I could finally prove that I am in fact a good public speaker.
The next assignment will be a group presentation which I am not too eager for, but after that are the impromptu speeches and those I’m excited for.
Let’s see if this feeling of satisfaction will last.