Education is one of the most important factors in anyone’s life—certainly mine. I have loved school as long as I can remember, from helping my 1st grade teacher correct papers to picking my college in 8th grade. My four years in high school taught me a little about a mix of subjects and a lot about myself. My four years at Northwestern University were some of the best of my life. Even in the last few years of building my career, I’ve taken time to pursue educational opportunities in the form of one-off courses (all the while wondering when I’ll be able to get back into a classroom full-time, but that’s a story for another day).
So when Baruch College lecturer Sabrina Kizzie reached out to me a month ago and asked if I would be interested in guest lecturing to her students, I was hesitant. Who am I to step up to the front of a classroom while I’m still figuring out what my impact on the world is going to be? And remember, I told myself, public speaking makes you anxious. What if my thoughts weren’t creative enough, or unique enough, or eloquent enough, to impress a room full of impressionable young people?
I said yes.
Yes to sharing my story despite my insecurities, because I am enough. Yes, I’m early in my career, but I’ve made a significant impact during my time in the working world. Yes, I get nervous speaking in front of others, but it makes me approachable.
I put together a presentation that showed who I am as a young professional who has a life outside of work. I talked about how I ended up where I am today. I talked about the work I do and what makes me passionate about it. And once I started talking, I remembered, again, why I love being in the classroom so much. It’s not a place of perfection - it’s a place of progress.
I learned as much about myself that day as the students learned from me.
I’m continuing to work on public speaking, reminding myself that my experiences in the working world are worth listening to.