It was 1988 and I had just returned to college to finish my degree in nursing. What was I thinking? It had been so many years since I had attended school. I must be crazy I thought. But here I was with my back pack full of the books I needed to complete my degree.
Surprised as I was, I loved being in class. I couldn’t get enough of learning. Why had I put this off for so long. Oh, yeah, I remembered, I was raising a family. Ok, so it made perfect sense to me that my priorities were in the right place.
As my first semester went along I was actually feeling a little guilty that I was having so much fun. Then, as I checked my syllabus I began to feel a panick take over me. I had to present a paper. I can’t stand up and talk to the whole class I thought. I will never pass this class if I can’t. What was I going to do?
Well, I researched my topic very well. I put my words on paper and practiced and practiced in front of a mirror until the day came when it was my turn to present.
I dressed in a professional suit with my hair and makeup done. I knew I was prepared, but my stomach was full of butterflies. I began sweating. And that was before I even got to class.
Finally, as I was seated in class and the professor called me to the front of the room. I couldn’t hear, there was a whooshing sound in my ears. As I approached the front of the room I was feeling a little dizzy and I could feel a trickle of sweat running down my back. I felt totally exposed as if everyone could see my innermost thoughts and just knew I didn’t have a clue about what I was going to say.
Then, as I said good morning to the class something changed. All of a sudden I had an overwhelming confidence. I began my presentation. My voice was strong. I actually knew what I was talking about. I wowed my audience. After my presentation I answered questions and was amazed at how many of my fellow students were actually interested in the content I had presented.
I guess I had to attribute my success that day to being well prepared and to the fact that I was a married woman with children and had been speaking in front of people for years. I had been in countless meetings at the schools my children attended, was involved in politics, demonstrated Tupperware, and was often team leader at the hospital during my shifts. I just never thought about how that prepared me for my presentation, or the fact that preparing for my classes had become a priority since I was footing the bill. Something I had failed to do the first time around when my dad was paying.