Lessons from Embarrassment

Drag your thoughts away from your troubles… by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it. ~Mark Twain

Palms sweating, heart beating, trying to memorize what i’m going to say but freaking out at the same time all together. Yup, it’s my turn to talk for the socratic seminar. If you’re like me, even thinking about speaking to a huge crowd throws my stomach for a loop and fills me with angst. It’s not the capricious unknowing choices the teacher makes when he picks a student to speak next, but the whole idea of knowing that it is your turn in a matter of minutes. The little time I have before I speak in front of a crowd I spend pacing, wiping the palms of my hand, and trying to convince myself that everything is going to be okay. I don’t believe my issues are terrible,  once I start and warm up to the situation I tend to get comfortable and operate normally. It is a peculiar habit  that i’ve been trying to fix for the longest time, and an embarrassing experience in my English class has helped me beyond belief.

We had just finished reading the third section of The Count Of Monte Cristo, and my teacher always holds a competitive socratic seminar “Brawl” where you answer teacher picked questions that you have submitted at the end of the section. You form groups and work on the questions together for roughly two days, but answering a question is easier said then done. The research, and your knowledge of the book has to shine through in order to score as many points for your team as possible. When the day comes for the class to Brawl, one team mate is sent up as a representative and they will be the  ones answering the questions for that specific section. I had felt confident so I volunteered myself to speak for this section. I went through my anxiety routine and when it was my turn to talk I was so happy that I didn’t stubble I didn’t even think about what I had said. It turns out that I had confused the characters personalties and events. I managed to figure that out due to some of the laughter from the room. It had to be the most embarrassing thing that has happened to me in High school. It was mortifying, but it only took me about 30 minutes to look at the situation and laugh at myself.

Okay, so I embarrassed  myself in front of the whole class room filled with intelligent students, how much worse could it be? Once you start at the very bottom and have figured out the absolute worse, it is then that   you can start furthering a sense of bravado to better the situation. Sure you’ll always be reminded of that one time in class, but it’s a better thing to come away from an situation with a great learning experience, and most of all a good laugh. Since my fumble my anxiety has gotten better and i’ve learned how to handle all my situations better. You should never be afraid to speak your mind for the fear of sounding dumb and being ridiculed.

-Laura

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