The one class I absolutely hated while at SDSU was Comm 103, public communcations. Essentially it was a public speaking class; a class made solely to get awkward people in front of a room to talk about stuff they don’t care about. I did not hate it because I am bad/afraid of public speaking but rather because it was the biggest waste of time that I have ever been around. If you know me at all, you will know that I love attention, especially talking in front of large groups of people. This class instead stifled peoples drive to be in front of people because it taught you to speak one way and punished you for stepping outside of that mold. This is the complete wrong way to teach public speaking.
But I am not writing this post to lament about a course that I took 5 (ugh) years ago, but rather to detail what I think is one of the most important skills to have in the pre/professional world: shooting from the hip. What I mean by this term is that you should always just do without second-guessing yourself.
Cryptic enough? Good. As an example: I have been an officer in about 5 different organizations. Truth be told, I was not planning on being an officer in any of them, but at each meeting I was nominated to be an officer. Each time, I didn’t object and got infront of a group of people and spoke for about 2 minutes about why I would be a good fit for the organization. That is shooting from the hip; no preparation, just go and see what happens. Doing this has opened so many doors for me and is one of the main reasons that I am now here at MIT.
Fun factoid: I only practiced my Valedictorian Speech from SDSU one time before delivering it.
This happened last night: I was nominated for President of the Graduate Association of Mechanical Engineers (GAME) at MIT. I really did not have much interest in doing it, but I got up there and in 2 minutes convinced a group of Mechanical Engineers why I deserve to be their president. Now I am the GAME president for the next year, affording me many opportunities to grow within the MIT community.
So as you go through life, always shoot from the hip. Whenever you are volunteered for something that has the ability to advance you personally/professionally, take it. Never waste your time practicing speeches, just get up there and do it. Or as Drake would say: YOLO.
You will thank yourself later.