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Lisping and Speaking and Anxiety and Comfort Zones (Long)


mom2bee
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I'll set the stage: I  have a lisp, I have since I was a little kid and while it has gotten a lot better (ie, I am no longer unintelligible to 99% of the population) it is still there. I can make myself understood fairly well and with little problems. I also have hearing issues that make it difficult for me to hear/understand everything going on around me. I have no trouble speaking to people and while I will usually have to repeat (or avoid) words with certain sounds, I do just fine. Maybe 1 or 2 times a month, someone will point out to me that I lisp but all in all, I can live with me as I am.

 

I would like some objective feedback on this issue: Should I suck it up or is it okay for me to refuse? Now, for my Comp. Sci degree at the 4yr uni. it is required to take Public Speaking--which I took--However it is also 'recommended' that we take Prof. Dev. but it is not required of my major. My advisor wants me to take this class, I have told her 'no' we have gone around this issue every single semester for almost 2 years now.

 

Prof. Dev is all about writing a resume, researching companies and grad school, how to behave properly, business etiquette, how to interview, etc. All the stuff you would expect a college educated graduate to know to do but most kids never learn. However there is speaking almost every week in that class. Your speeches are worth 20-30% of the class grade. I do NOT want to take this class. I really don't. My advisor wants me to take the class.

 

Everyone says that it is an 'easy A' because your speeches aren't long 3-5 min and if you dress out then you are pretty much golden, but for me, public speaking is not easy. It doesn't matter how long or how short, it isn't easy for me. It is uncomfortable and frustrating.

 

Now I can do small groups and one on one conversations/interactions well because I can hear and follow the line of discussion without too much confusion and if I know the topic of discussion, I can do really well. I like interacting with people and speaking on a small scale. But I get nervous and uncomfortable when I'm in a crowd of more than ~6 people

 

If I have to speak suddenly--like introducing yourself to the room--then I can, but I will literally be shaking the whole time, but I can actually speak. I do not pass out, or anything drastic like that. If I am called on in class to give a solution then I shake and stammer, even when I have the correct solution on my paper, I may put something else entirely on the board. I look like an idiot each and every time. I hate it.

 

My advisor is hounding me to take this 'recommended' class but I do NOT want to take this class!!!  A part of my refusal is that I don't want to pay to take anything 'extra' and certainly not something that I neither want nor need to take. But a large part of my refusal is that I don't want to put myself in the position of having to speak/present any more than I already have to.

 

Its not as thought I never do any public speaking as I usually have to do some because the dept. is big on class participation so the teacher will call out students by name in class/lab and for each class there is usually at least one planned presentation anyway and while I usually do well on my speeches, trust me I dread Presentation Day more than Final Exam Day.

 

What would you want your college student to do? Take this class that might in theory help them develop as a public speaker (even when Public Speaking 101 didn't) or would you think its okay to continue to pass.

 

I just got my 'tenative schedule' approved by the advisor and I'm really annoyed that she 'suggested' Prof. Dev. to me again. I have met with her in person a few times already and I have tried to explain why I am not taking the class but she just says that is more reason to take the class. I know the Teacher of Prof. Dev and she is kind, fair, etc, but I still do not want to take this class! Should I just take it and get it over with?

 

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I am dyslexic and stutter when nervous. I also have hearing problems.  I hate having to solve problems in front of people I get all mixed up and can't remember anything. However I have learned for my self confidence it is good for me to stretch myself and over come obstacles. For that reason I recommend taking the class.

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She isn't bad at it, she has anxiety. 

 

I wouldn't take the class until you did something about the anxiety.

 

Anxiety isn't just "oh get over it," there needs to be some sort of change or you will just end up in the same boat.

 

Is seeing a therapist out of the realm of possibility?

 

 

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True, and I don't think the OP should just 'get over it'. It's true, however, that doing the thing you are anxious about will end up reducing the anxiety, whereas avoiding it just reinforces the anxiety.

 

OP, is there on campus counselling you could access to support you as you do the class ? This is a common anxiety. I'll bet they've helped lots of students out with it before.

 

Doing the thing one is anxious about won't reduce the anxiety.

 

One has to actually do something about the anxiety or one is just going to be constantly panicking and being completely stressed out.

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I would consider maybe trying to find a support group or contact the school about any assistance they could provide. Toastmasters is a non-profit group dedicated to helping people with public speaking so that may be a good route.

 

The class can keep until you get more time with working on this in a supportive environment.

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I do not know of any support groups or anything in the area for anxiety but I just did a brief internet search, nothing in depth. And there is no toastmasters here.

However, this isn't something that I feel *needs* to be 'fixed'.

I hate public speaking but if push comes to shove, I can do it. I won't enjoy it for a second, but I can. I don't feel that my anxiety/nervousness/discomfort with public speaking impedes my quality of life or pose me any serious harm. I just hate doing it. However I don't know if I am being short sighted about this situation because of my dislike for public speaking or not.

 

And while I could probably benefit from the other things that the class offers, there are regular workshops (most of them 100% free to students) held in my area for the other skills that Prof. Dev teaches so why should I pay $550 to take a class when I could get everything that I want from it for $0 without the one (major) component that I don't want?

 

I will have to speak to the advisor and have her remove the registration hold and take Prof. Dev. off of my schedule if I don't take it, so I have to be ready to politely but firmly agree to disagree with her.

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However, this isn't something that I feel *needs* to be 'fixed'.

I hate public speaking but if push comes to shove, I can do it. I won't enjoy it for a second, but I can. I don't feel that my anxiety/nervousness/discomfort with public speaking impedes my quality of life or pose me any serious harm. I just hate doing it. However I don't know if I am being short sighted about this situation because of my dislike for public speaking or not.

 

You asked what we would recommend if you were our student:

If my child had anxiety about public speaking, I would very strongly recommend that she address the issue. If you tell yourself that it does not affect your quality of life it is because so far you have been able to avoid it largely, and this

 

but I will literally be shaking the whole time, but I can actually speak. I do not pass out, or anything drastic like that. If I am called on in class to give a solution then I shake and stammer, even when I have the correct solution on my paper, I may put something else entirely on the board. I look like an idiot each and every time. I hate it.

 

is definitely something I would consider affecting quality of life.

 

I consider public speaking a vital skill, and avoiding it will close the doors to many professional opportunities. So, for my child, this anxiety would have been addressed already at a younger age.

 

I would not push my child to take a class she simply dislikes. If, however, she was avoiding a class because of anxiety, I would consider this something in need of fixing.

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No.  I would not take the class.  College classes are expensive and I would not pay money for a professional development class that was not required.  Not for a Computer Science degree - IME, these types of jobs require public speaking on occasion (you took that class) and good communication skills (sounds like you have that covered).

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