The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
It’s Grade 12. I’m in English class standing in front of a whiteboard with a PowerPoint projected onto it; my group mates are on either side of me. They turn to me, giving me a queue to begin my section of the presentation. I take in a shaky breath and proceed to read off my perfectly-typed script, word-for-word, occasionally glancing up at the PowerPoint to read off the slides. Once or twice, I looked out at the rest of the room, but every time I did, I got tongue-tied and would begin stumbling. It was safer to keep my eyes on the page. Needless to say, it wasn’t an incredibly engaging presentation.
Wed. March 2, 2022. Another writing class. A couple of years and a pandemic later, there I was, in front of a PowerPoint again. But this time, there was no typed-out script. With a little encouragement (and a few light jabs) from my group, I decided to present with only a couple of point-form notes on my PowerPoint. And somehow… it went alright?
Don’t get me wrong – I was nervous coming into the presentation. It was definitely a surreal experience looking at a classroom full of people instead of a screen. I thought it would be scarier seeing everyone’s faces in front of me than presenting to an uniteresting display of Zoom names; talking to the void made me confident that people didn’t notice when I messed up. However, being in front of a class––seeing people and gauging their reactions and interest––was far more energizing than nerve-wracking. After “connecting” online for so long, the sense of human connection during my presentation was so welcoming and refreshing. It was nice knowing that people were there –– that they were listening.
Perhaps the extrovert in me was buzzing to be in a room full of people again. Perhaps it was the supportive group around me. Or perhaps it was because I was actually giving a presentation on something I liked!
I think the pandemic and its subsequent on-and-off has made many people crave just the tiniest bit of social interaction. Communicating with people through a screen is exhausting, and the past two years have proven to many that in-person interactions mean a lot more than we thought they did. Whether this was a one-off or something that will transpire for the next few years, I’m glad I somehow was able to improve a little bit during the pandemic.