I remember vividly back in elementary school when I first came to America. Back then, I could barely speak nor understand English, so it was very hard for me to adjust in the beginning. I started fifth grade two months after school had already started, so I was even more anxious since everybody already knew each other. I was scared that they would make fun of me because I could barely speak English, and also because of my accent. After the teacher introduced me to everybody, I just sat down quietly, and didn’t say a single word. When recess came, everybody started talking to me and they seem kind of friendly. Even with them asking me all different kinds of questions, all I did was nod and not say anything. After that, I just sat around in the corner as I looked at them playing and having fun. I was envious of them because I also wanted to have fun and play, so I gathered up some courage and asked if I can join them. I asked “Can I play with us?” While waiting for them to say anything, I noticed that some of them were giggling. At first, I didn’t really think of it as anything until I started talking more. After gaining some courage, I tried to have a conversation with them and make friends, so I asked one of them, “How is you?” “What is your name?” After asking those questions, everybody around me just burst out laughing. At first, I just stood there dumbfounded, not knowing what happened, nor why they were all laughing. Next thing I know, one of them just started mimicking what I said before and everybody started laughing more. After that, I realized what was happening and why they were laughing. They were laughing at me and making fun of my accent and grammar. That moment felt like eternity. After that realization, it felt like time slowed down and everything was just getting hotter. As I touched my face, it felt like a warm bun that was fresh out of the oven. I looked like a tomato because I was blushing really hard due to the embarrassment. My heart beat started beating faster and faster and as every second passed by, I could hear it getting louder and louder, like somebody’s playing the bongo who’s getting closer. After that, I ran as fast as I can away from everyone. Because of that incident, I became even less confident with speaking since I didn’t want to be embarrassed like I did. A few weeks later after that incident, we were all assigned to do show and tell in class. After realizing what we had to do, I just froze up. I didn’t even want to talk to anyone during those times because I became more cautious of what to say as I feared being embarrassed again. But because that was mandatory, I had no other choice but to do it. As days passed, the moment that I dread the most had come. When the teacher called my name, I felt chills coming down my spine as I heard my name. I walked slowly down to the front of the class while looking down on the floor. I remembered hoping that something miraculous will happen so that I didn’t have to present, and it did… not happen, sadly. As I stood in front of the class, my mind went blank. I didn’t know what to do and I just became more nervous as I see everybody looking at me. The room was dead silent as I see they wait for me to start speaking; the silence was deafening. I took a long deep breath and gathered up some courage and began to speak. While I was talking, I was stuttered a lot because I would think about what to say first before saying anything because I was conscious about my accent and grammar. My voice was very shaky and my entire body was trembling. Sweat was starting to drip down my face and also my hands. All I wanted was to get it over with because a few more seconds and I would have started tearing up. After I was done, it felt like a weight was lifted off of my chest, but I know it doesn’t end there, I have to encounter with this experience hundreds of times more in the future. Ever since that experience happened in the past, I always had a hard time presenting or speaking out in class even though I know that there’s nothing to worry about. Whenever I’m presenting, I just blank out and don’t know what to say even though I know I had a lot of things to say.As time passes, presenting is getting easier compared to before, but there’s still that feeling that will never go away no matter how hard I try. Just like stated in the article The Extinction and Return of Fear of Public Speaking, “Practice reduced fear of public speaking, but fear partially returned at test.” Even though my fear of presentation in class was triggered by other factors, there are still many people struggling with the same problem as I am. In school, we were never really taught much about how to present nor ways to make presentations easier during early school. I believe that they should have taught us more on how to present more comfortably and confidently as that’s what most students lack.
We need to learn how to present more confidently as this skill will be very beneficial in our later careers. Communicating our ideas clearly and presenting them openly in a public setting is an essential component of success across several areas of life. Being a good public speaker can help us advance our career, grow our business, and form strong collaborations. It can help us promote ideas and move people to action on issues that affect us directly and society at large. To do any of these things well requires a fair amount of standing in front of an audience and delivering an idea, and sometimes the only thing that stands between us is fear.