The experience I had at the Student Conference was something I never really had before. I was always to shy to enter writing or literature contests in high school, because I was always nervous about what people would think of my writing. So when Professor Pittmann announced she was going to pick eight of our mid-term papers to participate at a student conference, I was pretty nervous. I honestly had no idea my paper was going to be picked, it came as a pleasant surprise. When I heard we had to READ the essays out loud, well that's when I almost chickened out. I did not write that essay to be read out loud.
Every time I write, I pour a bit of my soul into the words. It makes my writing process very personal. I write short stories and free verse poetry, and thoughts about random events, but I never show them to anyone. The fact that I had to read my essay out loud was a bit nerve-wracking. But then I relaxed when I realized seven more of my classmates had to do the same thing.
The day of the conference some of my classmates, mostly the girls, stood outside the door, waiting for the previous conference to end so we could enter. We whispered about what it was going to be like and mostly discussed our pre-reading jitters. It was a bit calming actually, talking to people that had to do the same thing I had. It made me feel less nervous.
I was surprised at how professional everything was arranged - we were assigned to sit up front at a table, panel-style, with a microphone passed around each time a person read their essay. We were even given bottles of water! That made me laugh internally, I felt like a professional, like people (well, at least Professor Pittmann) was interested in what I had to say. And that felt good.
The whole experience was very rewarding, and I would like to thank Professor Pittmann for giving us the opportunity to participate. My fear at public speaking was defeated.