Overcoming My Public Speaking Anxiety

I have struggled with public speaking anxiety for as long as I can remember. My middle school teachers would dock points on my projects when I leaned on the podium for support for my trembling body, and my high school instructors looked on sympathetically as I struggled to complete a presentation without tearing up. It took me two years into my higher education to finally find my confident voice to use in front of crowds. I thank my college professors for being compassionate and truly helpful in improving my skills, but I owe it to myself for recognizing my strength and perseverance to finally kick this fear of mine.

Despite my past of failed public speaking incidents, I recently delivered one of the most important and meaningful speeches to date. In preparation for this, I constantly edited my script to find the perfect words. I practiced for weeks and gave myself endless pep talks in the mirror to control my nerves. This was a speech about me, my values, and why I should be elected as KU’s next Student Body President. A year ago, I could hardly imagine delivering such a significant dialogue, but now I was campaigning for a position where I would have to use my voice on behalf of students nearly every single day. I shocked myself and my loved ones by standing up at the podium with excitement and grace. My speech and question & answer session occurred with very few mistakes, and I was beyond proud of myself for making it through with confidence. 

This was a huge milestone in overcoming my anxiety. I feared for so long that I would be mocked or disregarded for speaking out with conviction, but I have made notable progress on combating those thoughts. I still struggle with anxiety in other contexts, but I know that I am capable of more than I thought, and that is what truly matters.