Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I Am Almost Speechless

Today was one of the longest days of my life. I woke up around 5:30 AM this morning with a sore throat and a stuffy nose, and immediately remembered that today was the School Board meeting, where I would have to speak on behalf of the UChicago cohort to the School Board. 

Twelve hours later, I was at Lovonya Dejean Middle School, grim-faced and ready. After talking briefly with the assembled ILCers and learning that the UChicago cohort would unfortunately be going up last, the meeting began. I don't remember much about the meeting, since I was rehearsing my speech in my head the whole time, all the while thinking about how I would mess up in front of everyone at the meeting, and everyone watching the School Board meeting from home. 

I ponder my existence while the cohort looks on.
Soon, it was our cohort's turn! I briefly contemplated making a run for it, but all thoughts vanished from my head as our chaperone Alana introduced me as the speaker representing the Chicago cohort. 

I stood at the podium, for a moment not knowing at all what to say. I turned to look at my cohort one last time, and they all shot me encouraging smiles.

Unfortunately, due to the combination of nervousness, a huge burst of adrenaline, and a terrible memory, I don't quite remember what I talked about. But I do remember speaking from the heart.

After an eternity of uncertainty, my cohort and I walked back to our seats. I was instantly flooded with relief. I had survived! And no one had thrown any food at me! After Don recognized all the contributors to the ILC, we headed into the gym to take photos.
The combined 2015 ILC, including the students, parents, and chaperones, in all of its grandeur.
I'm sitting in the front row, the third person from the left.

I am very glad that this whole ordeal is over, although I don't regret taking the speech. This was a very rewarding experience overall, and brings us another step closer to the trip itself. I am very excited for this, but I think that I'm done with public speaking for a while...

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