Good evening! 🙂 I hope the week has treated you well–I’m currently bundled up in a blanket, wondering why Winter has suddenly reclaimed control over the weather lol. Due to a bout of anemia this year and just a change in personality, I’ve gone from loving all things cold weather to “Bring on Summer!!”, so these 40 degree days have lost their appeal. Oh well, it was still a gorgeous, sunny day!
It’s not quite final exam season yet, but this is what I call “pre-finals” season (and if you’re in school right now, you know exactly what I’m talking about). It’s the in-between where teachers and professors throw in all the hefty projects, essays, and extra assignments they can before we have to start obsessing over finals.
Needless to say, I’m ready for the semester to be over lol.
However, there are some enjoyable parts about this season: I got to present my first-ever lesson plan yesterday! For those of you who’ve been reading my posts awhile, you know I recently switched my career focus from teaching to counseling–so, my EDU professor let me put together a counseling lesson plan for the age group I’m interning with (fourth graders).
As a sort of memoir for these beginning days in my counseling journey, I think I’m going to do a post specifically explaining the lesson plan, if you’d be interested 🙂 Even if you don’t work in the school system, maybe you could use it with your own kiddos!
The way the lesson plan went was that my EDU class (professor included, so about nine in all) pretended to be fourth graders while I gave the lesson. I’ll have you know, that this was my first time presenting–ever! Most of the other girls have all either been in internships before or are actually working in a daycare or school system already.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a shy introvert with a dislike for the spotlight. You may be the life of the party, but I think we can all agree that class presentations are nerve-wracking. I physically shake when in front of the class! My hands get clammy, my legs get shaky, and the very tip-tops of my ears burn an unbecoming shade of lobster red.
As unavoidable as the butterflies may seem, I’ve got a few tips I’ve rounded up from past (and present) experiences that I hope can help you out. Yesterday, I presented without the shakes and stumbles, and know you can too:
I don’t care what my guy friends tried telling me in high school, “winging it” just doesn’t cut it. (Sorry men, I’m not trying to be sexist, it really was the guys in my class.) There’s no better way to make yourself nervous than to show up for a presentation, meeting, or interview with no clue what you’re going to say. Which leads me to my next tip:
I personally try to memorize my speech before every presentation. I know this comes with the risk of sounding monotonous or like you’re on autopilot mode, but there are ways to help that like eye contact, hand gestures, and intonation. But back to outlining: whether you want to write out everything you’re going to say until you have it memorized or just want a brief “1, 2, 3”, go ahead and scribble something down. It’s better to plan too much and be able to drop information–especially if you’re like me and have this wonderful knack for blanking out.
Separate work and play:
I get it. This presentation is worth half your semester grade or could land you the biggest promotion in your office. You want to do the best and are willing to do whatever it takes–including pulling an all-nighter and arriving to class or work on a caffeinated adrenaline high.
But please, don’t.
Set aside time for your project, a little every day leading up to it, so that you can avoid cramming last minute. But more importantly, set an end time. An hour, three hours, half the day–just make sure that, when you’re done, you are done. (Oh, and get some sleep.) Take time to pamper yourself or just sit around relaxing, so you’re not so burntout by the time you present that you can’t think straight. This also applies to separating yourself from distractions when working (yep, that means the cell phone goes away. When boredom kicks in and your phone is out of reach, you won’t be able to start scrolling through Instagram for the next hour. You’re welcome).
Have a warm drink:
It sounds small, but it can go a long way. When I was prepping for my counseling lesson plan, I ended up with a scratchy throat–the last thing anyone wants before a presentation. I found that having warm tea not only soothed my throat, but it helped me to relax, especially the morning of. To take it a step further, feeding yourself right is beyond important. I know it gets to be cliche, we’ve all heard it before, but that’s because it’s the truth: what you put into your body is what you can expect to get out of it. Stay hydrated, eat your greens, and enjoy a cup of tea.
Exercise the day before:
Now, I’m no scientist or fitness expert. I can’t tell you all the specific, fancy mumbo-jumbo behind the endorphin release that comes from working out. But I can tell you that I’ve felt it and I know it to be true. (Again, this should really be a part of your regular schedule, just like eating healthier.) Ladies, trust me, I know getting sweaty the morning beforehand just ain’t happening, which is why I’m suggesting this the day before. Taking a brisk walk, going for a run, lifting weights–the choice is yours, just get the blood pumping and limbs moving. Sitting and studying is going to leave you crabby enough without the added stress of not moving all day long, I promise.
Tell yourself you’ve got this:
You’re going to get a little nervous, plain and simple. It’s natural. However, how you talk to yourself during the butterflies can make or break your performance.
Thinking things like “I can’t do this”, “I’m going to mess it up”, or “They’re going to judge me” is depressing and disheartening–and certainly isn’t going to make the nerves go away! Instead, tell yourself you can do it: you’re beautiful/handsome, you’re an amazing human being, and you can rock this!
And one last thing… everybody else is just as nervous as you. You’re not alone. Before the awkward silence starts, share a few laughs with your classmates or coworkers about how one of you forgot your flashdrive, you’re already sweating, and this is your least favorite subject. Then, tell them they’ve got this too!
Last, but not least, read a few verses:
It’s intimidating, I know. The Bible is a big book and it can almost seem to loom from the bedside table. If it makes it easier, just google some empowering verses on your phone–we all know your phone is already out anyway. Whatever way you go about it, I cannot tell you how much this can help you destress. Reading how God will not let you fall (Psalm 46:5), how God is always with us (Joshua 1:9), and that God Himself makes the way and fights for us (Exodus 14:14) can be incredibly encouraging when we’re preparing for something we know makes us nervous.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Presentations can be a little nerve-inducing, but they don’t have to be scary! I let God show me how much he loves me and how he wants me to be confident, laughing without fear of the future, and because of thatI had the best presentation of my life yesterday! I want with all my heart for you to know that same love and confidence, in whatever you do, every day 🙂 You are beautiful and you are loved ❤︎