How to Gain the Confidence to Speak in Class!

I get it; it’s a new semester with new professors, new classmates, and a whole new vibe. In class, it can be intimidating to speak or say how you are feeling about particular subject. It can be scary to show off your knowledge. It feels almost as if you can’tcontribute to the discussion. I have definitely had classes where I simply don’t talk. I have also had classes where my hand will always be in the air. I have learned to find a balance between the two. I have learned to suck it up and participate, and you can too! Here are some tips and tricks to gain the confidence to earn those participation points:

  1. YOU ARE SO SMART.

If you are thinking of something to say and repeating it to yourself over and over again until your legs tingle and your stomach gets warm, then it is time to share your thoughts. I have sat in classes where these reactions occur, and holding my thought back feels like running a marathon. My whole body goes into shock until I say what I am thinking. When you finally share your thoughts, the positive validation you get makes it worth sharing. No one is going to tell you that you were stupid, because you aren’t!

  1. YOUR OPINIONS MATTER.

If someone disagrees with you, don’t let that discourage you. Stand by your beliefs and listen to what others are saying. The worst that will happen is that you take a new stance. Even then you will have more to talk about!

  1. LIVING WITH THE REGRET is not worth the silence. 

I learned this the hard way during my first year of college. In my sociology class, I was afraid of saying something wrong because sociology is what I wanted to pursue. I didn’t want to say anything that would ruin my chances. I remember my professor asking about the bureaucracy. The first word that came to my mind was “DMV”. He proceeded to ask us to name the champion of American bureaucracies. While everyone was yelling out wrong and abstract answers, I held back “DMV” because I didn’t want to be wrong. Then, my professor said, “you guys are all thinking to broadly. All I was looking for was the DMV.” I was furious with myself, I wanted to scream! My mind started making new ways to call myself an idiot because all I had to say three letters. The feeling of not saying something right is not worth the regret of knowing you could’ve gotten the question right. Now, I don’t shut up. Can’t make that mistake twice!]

  1. NO SUCH THING AS A WRONG ANSWER IF IT IS WHAT YOU TRULY BELIEVE, unless your opinions are oppressive to another person or groups of people.

Please do not take this advice if you plan on using it to silence someone else’s beliefs out of ignorance, because that is not what I am telling you to do. But if you have a belief that won’t cause harm to another individual, then say it. And even if no one agree with you, at least you stood by your belief. You are strong for doing so!

  1. And if all else fails, remember that PARTICIPATION IS PART OF YOUR GRADE

Back to that sociology class my first semester. I ended it with a B+ instead of an A because I didn’t talk until the last day of class. To make matters worse, my professor even told me that the B+ was going to be the highest grade I was going to get even if all my papers were As. My written grades didn’t matter because I didn’t raise my hand to speak in class. I was mad at him for making a policy like that, but I was madder at myself for not speaking in that class. Don’t let your grade suffer like mine did!

And if you don’t believe me, believe Viola Davis: