Public Speaking and Group Work: Tackling Two Fears at Once

When I imagined myself giving my first TED talk I always pictured a big auditorium, standing ovations, and enthusiasm equivalent to what Steve Jobs would receive when unveiling the newest update for the IPhone…

I guess I will have to wait a little longer for my break through moment.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) our TED talks were on a much smaller scale, as the privacy of our ENGL 119 classroom allowed many of us (read: me) to embrace the fear of public speaking and present on topics that we were fascinated with (math kids are fascinated with most things).

As a self-proclaimed social introvert the mere mention of group work gives me anxiety. Add in the fact that I always seem to end up with that one person we all know…


…and you can guess I wasn’t too thrilled about this project.

Luckily, the Algorythms and I were a near perfect match! The experience managed to erase all my bad memories of last minute scrambling to finish what was *supposed to be* group work in high school. I’ve learnt that two of the best skills two have in these situations are:

  1. Knowing how to delegate roles and responsibilities effectively, and
  2. Not being afraid to hold one another accountable

Most importantly, collaboration allowed us to tackle a complex topic which we might’ve otherwise not even attempted to approach on our own.

I am also extremely intrigued by the way others think and believe that having a diverse prospective on a broad range of global issues is particularly helpful when building new relationships. While I was already familiar with all of the topics that were presented, each group still managed to bring in a new insight or view point that I had never considered.


I don’t know about you, but I find difficult advice easier to take in when it comes from someone who is in the same situation as me and so when my class mates presented on “Financial Markets and Millennials” I was naturally drawn in and eager to do as they say.  Yet, when my mom reminds me at least once a day about my bad habit of overindulging in expensive coffee (it’s a hobby really!!) and how I will never be able to afford a home on my own if I don’t start saving now, my  defensive mechanism instantly turns on. I receive it more as a personal attack (or nagging) instead of appreciating the valuable life lesson she is trying to give me.

Another debate that I enjoyed hearing about was the introduction of coding to children in grades K-12. In the past, I always regretted not being keener on learning how software works and taking an initiative and teaching myself how to code from an earlier age. Thus while I fully agree with the argument that computer science should be mandatory for many kids, the logistics of it (i.e. costs, not enough teachers, etc.) that the group discussed had never really crossed my mind.

Overall, I think we all deserve a big applause!

Image result for applause gif


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