I remember when I came into the Speaking Center one day, and I wasn’t feeling too good. My stomach was hurting and I had done a lot of work before coming into the center. Before I came in, I finished 15 minute presentation in my Communication class. I also had to do a lot of work after my shift. A five page paper was due at midnight and I had to do another 15 minute presentation on the next day. To make matters worse, I had to do a consultation right when I walked in. Despite being really tired, I carried myself outside the office and called out to the speaker. But, when the speaker stood up, I could tell something was wrong. He had his back slouched over as he walked, and his eyes looked like they were going to shut at any given moment. We entered the room for the consultation, and there was an awkward silence.
Eventually, I asked him what was wrong. He lifted his head and told me about what he was going through. He hadn’t slept for more than four hours a night for the past week because of back-to-back papers. He also told me he felt alone on campus, because he’s too busy to go out and make friends with other students. I was very surprised, because he was feeling the exact same way I have been feeling for a while. His revelation made me want to tell him about the assignments and things I’d been going through. We continued to talk to each other about how stressful school was and the effects it has on social life. Eventually, we stopped talking about ourselves because we still had to do the consultation. After we shared our mutual struggles, we became happier and more relaxed, and began the consultation. It didn’t take too long; he only needed to practice for a 3 minute speech. I gave him tips about verbal fillers and practicing with note cards.
While he was filling out the feedback form, I left the room feeling like I had woken up from an eight-hour nap. I was refreshed and I felt like I could take on anything the world had to throw at me. When the speaker finished the feedback form, he left the room with a smile on his face and walked out with confidence. I feel like the speaker and I were destined to meet each other at that point, and that’s what I like about working in the Speaking Center – you get to help and meet people that you can relate with. It’s always good to be reminded that there are other people that are going through the same thing as you. It makes you feel less alone in your life, you know?