Hey guys! It’s time for another post in the #CollegeRealTalk series, and today I am sharing the story of Emily. She is talking about an experience she had in one of her classes, how she dealt with it, and how it ended up being okay in the long run! Without further ado, here is Emily’s story,
Hello everyone, I’m Emily. First off I wanted to express what a great idea I think Alyssa’s College Real Talk series is and I wanted to thank her for letting me contribute! College can include some of the best years of one’s life. It can also be challenging sometimes. Sometimes, you’ll have to do things that you may not want to do or weren’t expecting. However, as I discovered, you can learn from every experience!
I attend a small liberal arts college in New England, not too far from Boston. While fulfilling general course requirements, I had to take a full year of English. I had the same professor for ENG 101 and ENG 102. I’m also in the honors program at my college. That means that every year I have to do what is called a “component”. A component is an extra project developed by a student and professor in conjunction with a course. This means that once a year I approach a professor and ask if I can do an additional, individual project based on the course content.
I had an idea for a component I could do regarding my ENG 102 course, and so I approached the professor to ask what she thought. She liked the idea and the project proposal was approved by the honors program. I then had the semester to work on and complete it.
My roommate was doing a component in the course as well. It was nice to talk about our ideas and projects together. We also met with our professor throughout the semester to discuss the progress of our projects. Once it was past midterms and getting closer to the end of the semester we established when the projects would be due. My professor, roommate, and I also established when my roommate and I would be presenting our projects to the other students in our ENG 102 class.
I’m not someone who enjoys public speaking and wasn’t looking forward to presenting my project. I consoled myself with the fact that my class only had about twenty students in it. Plus, my roommate was presenting her project as well (and not looking forward to it either). Once the day came and we presented we both felt very relieved. We were happy that our projects were done!
-Or so we thought.
Where Things Went Wrong
Then, close to the very end of the semester, my English professor told my roommate and I that she had signed us up to present our component projects during symposium. The symposium is a college-wide showcase of presentations by students and classes. She told us this only TWO days before the presentation. Now I don’t want to come off as over reacting here, but I was pretty shocked.
I already get super nervous presenting in front of my class, especially individually. Now out of the blue, I was expected to present in front of a much bigger crowd. We didn’t think it was very fair for our professor to force us to present at symposium. She never mentioned it to us before and we weren’t given an option. I never would have expected that professor to do something like that.
If she had said something earlier and given us more of a warning, rather than two days, we would have had more time to prepare. I think that would have been much better, especially since we weren’t given a choice. I still think she’s a great professor, but my feelings toward her did change a little after that.
Our presentations at symposium did go well; nothing catastrophic happened. Still, it was unfair of her to have signed us up without warning or asking us first.
I am someone who gets nervous and worries about what people will think, and how they’ll judge me and the work I’ve produced. I’m sure that others feel the same. There is always pressure regarding school. I also felt added pressure since the project was in addition to my regular coursework and a part of my honors program, which implies higher standards.
In the End
Having to present at symposium added so much to my end of the year stress. I know my professor did not have malicious intentions, but that did not lessen the stress or nerves. If my professor had not found our projects worthy of being presented at symposium, she wouldn’t have signed us up to present them. She believed in us and our work and had more faith in our projects and abilities than we did. It seems like the professor could see the bigger picture before we could, and may have believed that we needed a little push to see what we were capable of achieving. She did it because she wanted to help us.
As I mentioned before, there can always be something gained from an experience or event, even if the experience is negative at first. There can still be positive takeaways. In life, there will always be things we are not prepared for, things we don’t want to do, and we just have to do the best we can. And the more you do something you’re scared of, the better you will become and hopefully the less worried you will be about it. And truth be told, the more presentations I give, the easier it becomes. I have also become more confident. I no longer get as nervous or worried.
If you ever face a challenge like mine, I recommend talking to someone. A friend, a roommate, a family member, a professor, anyone you feel comfortable with can always be helpful. Having a conversation about it can help you figure out what steps to take next and how you are going to handle the challenge. One last thought – you are capable of so much more than you think! And it sounds cliché and it may be hard to do, but sometimes you just have to try to remember to believe in yourself!
Thank so much for reading this segment of the college real talk series! I hope Emily’s story can help some of you manage when dealing with your own unexpected problems. The next post will be all about long distance relationships and managing priorities! If you want to know more about Emily, you can find her website here, and you can follow her on instagram here!