Looking back, I now realise how far I have come and how I have grown as a person. I still remember back in year 9 I had to stand up at the front of the class for a presentation (or a speech – something like that) and I was so overwhelmed. I opened my mouth to speak and all of a sudden I felt terribly warm, too warm. I was breathless, struggling to get the words out. I couldn’t keep still. My hands were shaking, making it even harder to read out what I had to say. I could feel everyone’s eyes on me, although I wouldn’t look up to meet any. To be honest, now that I look back, it seems almost as if I was having a panic attack right in front of my whole class. Confidence was a big issue for me, in fact, it still is in a way. I used to be a very shy and closed-off person. It was never easy for me to speak in front of an audience, or strike up a conversation with just anyone. It was never a good experience, having to stand at the front of the classroom. I used to dread it, always afraid that people would be able to to see just how nervous I was.
And now here I am.
I stood before an entire auditorium filled with who knows how many people. I stood before such a large number of people, and managed to deliver my words without sweating or shaking or breaking down. Sure I had butterflies in my stomach, but it wasn’t all bad. It was almost exhilarating in a way. The words came naturally, and I felt safe. I walked off stage feeling good about myself, proud that I was able to pull off something I wouldn’t have been able to just a few years ago. Being at this school, surrounded by these people has given me so much room to grow. I am able to do things I once was to able to, things I never would have imagined achieving; like talking to such a large number of people. These past few years have given me the opportunity to learn more about myself, and to be where I am now. I overcame this small, yet significant, fear I had. And just knowing that feels amazing.