I haven’t been quite active these days but I am busy with the graduation, the school-leaving and other stuff. (My mom keeps on saying me “You just have to do it, deal with it!”) But I caaaaan’t! I always find something more useful to distract me. Like the courses at COURSERA or my favourite book so far “The HR answer book” by Shawn Smith, J.D., & Rebecca Mazin (I strongly recommend it to beginners.)
Anyways, my English teacher Tatiana Rostovtseva who is a Fulbright grantee in Pernik made it possible for me and my classmates to participate in a Speech and Debate competition held at American University in Bulgaria on the 12th and 13th of April. Almost 20 people from my school were involved in diverse disciplines, including poetry, prose, debate, duet and original oratory. I am so thankful that we had the chance to be at this event because this competition was a challenging experience and a good opportunity to practice our public speaking and argumentation skills. I chose the Original Oratory because I find it a great opportunity to see how I’m going to react and behave in front of people that I’ve never even met before. Due to the fact that I’ve never made serious presentations I think it was a very useful experience because I plan to start a presentation skills course this summer. The requirements were to talk about a topic of significance or a threatening danger for 7 minutes and 30 seconds. There were different topics concerning diverse subjects such as vegetarians, social awkwardness, school as a better place, discrimination, appearance, etc.
However, my topic of discussion was: Education is an investment but not a guarantee. I already wrote about it on my blog and it was something familiar but still something that I am passionate about. For the past few days I worked really hard on the speech and I tried to find mistakes that I’m making, I talked to strangers to see their reactions and so on. Although I was extremely nervous, I made it to finals which really meant a lot, I talked in front of different judges and students and was able to see their performances. The good part was that I managed to learn from the others and I found things to avoid during my future presentations. For example, learning the speech by heart. Fortunately, I never do this, I’d rather improvise in some situations, it’s more natural. What’s more, some of the participants did not connect with the public and it felt like they did not feel comfortable and did not actually believe in what they were taking about. That’s why I found some of the speeches interesting as an idea but poorly presented. 😦
I believe we all did it really well considering the fact that this was the first Speech and Debate tournament we are attending. We won 2nd place for our school and had so much fun although the two days were really exhausting and busy. But most importantly, we made our teacher really proud!!! 🙂
Although I won 2nd place, to me this experience was a win-win because I saw where I was wrong, what not to do, what to do more and I was able to learn from the mistakes of others. My highest moment of the whole tournament was when one of the judges, who I think was also a professor at the American University in Bulgaria, saw me at the hallway and told me “I am so sorry that you won’t be here in the fall!!” This really meant A LOT to me!!! I will never forget it because It made me believe that he saw what I was talking about and I couldn’t have asked for a better recognition of my work!! 🙂