Response to What’s Your Worst Public Speaking Experience?:
I was a sophomore in college and the most sick I had ever been up to that point in time. I could barely breathe, my throat hurt, I was constantly nauseated, and I had a fever that had me breaking out in sweat. Normally, someone with these symptoms would stay home, but I was in a public speaking class, and those speeches are your entire grade. I am very on top of my schoolwork and VERY nervous talking in class. Of course, I’m in a class full of people who could care less what you are talking about and just want to get theirs over with. This should make someone feel better, but for me I felt very self conscious that I was essentially giving a speech to my TA. As I was sitting in my seat waiting to be called, I felt sweat seeping through my layers of clothing. When I finally got the front of the room, I knew I had sweat marks on all the worst parts of my body. I proceeded to speak, only getting out a few words at time and hacking up my lungs every few words. These grotesque noises forced everyone to pay attention and stare at me with glaring eyes that said, “What the heck are you doing here and why aren’t you quarantined?” The more they stared, the worse I felt, the less I was able to breathe. I had to turn around and face the board for a solid minute to regain myself and finally complete my speech in a flurry of phlegm-filled coughs. I immediately ran outside, threw myself on a bench outside the building, and cried. I called my mom and cried. In public. In college. I will have dreams about that day for the rest of my life.