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Cliché for a Reason

We recognize that every transfer students' experience is different, however, we know that many transfers face some of the same challenges as they transition into the university. This blog was created for transfers by transfers to share TIPS and insight on having the best semester you can at Texas A&M University.
    Posted on Friday, Apr 06, 2018
    Does anyone truly enjoy public speaking? Honestly. Like yeah, I can do it, but I think everyone gets that pit in their stomach and increased heart rate beforehand. If you’re one of the special few who doesn’t experience this, Professor X is looking for you. I have done my fair share of public speaking, and even though I have gotten better and had some really successful experiences, it definitely was not always like this.
    The summer after my freshmen year of college, I was the high school intern at my church in Austin. At the end of the summer, I was supposed to give the sermon one Sunday morning. I had known about this since the beginning and the topic weeks in advance. I was overly confident in my abilities, so I waited until a few days before to start preparing. Mistake number one. I was at the middle school’s summer camp that week and had just gone through a bad breakup just days prior, so emotions were running high and my mind was not focused on this talk. After writing it out, I didn’t think I needed to have anyone look over it or to run through it. Mistake numbers two and three. The morning of, I didn’t feel prepared or confident but I just brushed off the feeling and relied on my not-so-great experience and “natural abilities.” Mistake number four and five. See a pattern? Yeah, you guessed it, it did not end well. I got up on that stage and it was SO bad. Rougher than sandpaper and it was OBVIOUS that I was completely unprepared. I had built up this idea that I could wing it, but when I jumped, I fell flat on my face.

    Looking back on that event, I slightly cringe on the inside knowing how truly terrible the talk was. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am thankful for that experience because it taught me valuable lessons like preparing in advance, running through it a dozen times, seeking feedback, and that staying focused is key. So after this astronomical fail, was I surprised when they invited me back to speak once more a few short years later? Absolutely. But this time, I was ready.

    This past December I went on a mission trip to East Asia, and was invited back to speak on my experience. In the weeks leading up to the talk I knew I had to redeem myself, not for anyone else’s sake but for mine. I had gone through numerous Communication courses and countless presentations since, so I felt truly equipped to successfully deliver this message. I took what I learned from the previous occasion and applied it all, which is why that talk was the most engaging, passionate, inspiring talk I’ve ever given (see picture).     

    Failure is not the end. Through failure, success is birthed. It’s a cliché for a reason: it’s true.  
    By Kendall Janke, College of Liberal Arts
    Photo Attribution: Lucas Jackson