What I Have Learned From Speaking Up
Norah Nowarah | Toronto, Canada There I was, a Grade 9 student who was so shy that I preferred to haunt myself with the thoughts and ideas I contained than run the risk of drawing eyes to me. After making it to my final year of high school, I have learned that many people were, and still are, this way. Of course, it makes sense for someone to feel like this, particularly at this stage in life. You have just entered a completely foreign environment; new classrooms, teachers, and people. So why wouldn’t you be the slightest bit shy? The last thing you would want to do is be judged by those around you for saying your opinion. This was how my thought process looked like for the longest time as well. However, since the beginning of Grade 11, I slowly started to become upset with myself. “Just Say It!” I would constantly tell myself. Eventually, after having enough of these thoughts, they turned into actions. I gradually began to raise my hand every now and then and noticed it was not as hard as it seemed. While my heart would pound at an unrecordable speed as soon as the teacher pointed towards me, I would feel at ease knowing that I tried to contribute my ideas to the topic being discussed. Fast forward to Grade 12, I can proudly say that I have become more comfortable in voicing my opinion. Although, this progression has come with a lot of practice. The more I spoke in class, the more I became comfortable I became doing so. This constant self-push opened many doors I never imagined myself opening. This year alone, I have joined numerous clubs and took on new roles that continuously require me to generate and provide my ideas. I have found myself speaking up for others and doing so confidently; something I would have never imagined myself doing in Grade 9. As I will soon be attending university, I hope to continue taking these small steps to improve my confidence and further use my voice for the better. Remember that new environment situation I mentioned in the first paragraph? I now view these new environments as an opportunity to start fresh, providing me with an opportunity to push myself to express my opinions from day one. Now, why is all this important to you? Because your voice is IMPORTANT. Use it to the best of your ability.