Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Today we took a crash course in public speaking, taught by guest speaker Jen Madden. As you might know, public speaking is apparently the number one fear of a majority of Americans, with “death” coming in third. So obviously, it’s something that everyone can work on.

In the morning we brainstormed potential pitfalls you have to watch out for when giving a speech. She then discussed with us how to identify and minimize these problems. Today in class we learned how to stand and how to breathe. This may sound easy, it is very important and was actually quite difficult. Both posture and breathing are crucial parts of a good speech/presentation. Another important factor, especially for people of my generation, was minimizing vocal non-fluencies–the likes, umms, and uhs, that are so common in our daily speech. We also tried some fun tongue twisters to begin developing polished, poised speech. For example:

The lips, the teeth, the tip of the tongue

The tip of the tongue, the lips, the teeth

Enunciate, articulate, exaggerate, hmm.

We also discussed the mental aspects of giving a good speech, such as preparation and confidence. However, I can’t disclose all of our new speech techniques in public, because if I do, how will I ever persuade anyone to do what I want? :)

After lunch, I went with Cynthia, Josie, and four other classmates with one of our leader fellows, Laura, to practice impromptu speeches. For those who don’t know, an impromptu speech is when you are given a topic on the spot and have to make up a speech about it. Scary!

I really liked today’s class. It was extremely helpful with regards to public speaking. I got a lot of advice about how to improve with public speaking and I also got to get some hands-on practice.

I would like to take a moment to mention a topic that people should always consider when thinking about college but that might not always be the first thing to come to mind: homesickness. Surprisingly (or not), I'm not actually homesick much at all. However, several of the friends that I have made here have been missing their families, which reminded me to remember this factor when considering colleges.

Okay, maybe I lied a little. I don't miss my house or my family, but I do miss my friends. I love getting new experiences and making new friends and it's actually pretty fun to come to a new place. I like being with people who haven't known me since middle school. However, there are times when I find myself thinking that I should talk to one of my California friends when we cover a particular topic in class and then realize that unfortunately, I can't. While I'm on the topic of missing friends, I'd like to shout out to my friend Maddie Berger, who is also on the East Coast right now college touring. I'm hoping to make plans with her at some point so that she can meet all of my new friends, but I don't know if it will be possible.

Please, don't get the wrong impression. I am having a blast here in Providence, and it's my new friends that make me think of my old friends because I know that they would all get along so well and it makes me sad that they will probably never meet. Now that I have had my little rant, I'll get back to business.

Tonight we met in Solomon Hall to have a diversity workshop. Our mandatory evening workshops are held by our leader fellows, although tonight Kisa was sitting in and taking notes. We talked about identity issues such as gender, nationality, disabilities, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. The workshop was very intense and emotional, and it has given me a lot to think about. We finished on a lighter note, with reminders about our long day tomorrow as we travel out of town to do our ropes course.

I’m looking forward to the ropes course tomorrow. I think I’ll learn a lot about myself, as well as my methods for dealing with challenges. We have to wake up a lot earlier to get on the bus, but I don’t mind. I’m sure it will be absolutely worth it!

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