If you had asked me what I would have said two days ago: Am I ready to embarrass myself in two days? No. But luckily I have two days to prepare for such an embarrassment.
Typical Shandre, always overreacting! Things always work out better than I expect them too. This can be both good and bad though I guess. If I expect things to go badly then everything will seem to be great and fabulous, but this in itself causes me much stress. I think I am just a naturally stressed out person. I stress about the little things and the big things and all things in between. And what happens when I stress? I get sick and then stress more because I am too sick to do the things that I need to be doing. So my new life purpose is escaping this continuous paradox I am trapped in.
It seems that I have forgotten to mention that which was the cause of my stress! Mr. DiLorenzo – the Rotarian that had first inspired me to become an exchange student – had asked me to present to the Highlands Ranch Rotary Club about my exchange. It seemed simple enough, but that didn’t stop me from worrying. At first I thought his request meant that the other members of the club wanted to know a bit more about Regensburg, but in fact he wanted me to talk about my experience thus far. It really wasn’t a daunting task, but the thought of talking in front of people was intimidating.
The meeting was conducted at Lone Tree Country Club. I was dressed so prim and proper that I practically felt like a different person. I will now take this time to thank my mom for reminding me that I can’t wear jeans to every engagement I have!
Once we arrived, we sat down to a wonderful lunch. Because I am sure you want to know exactly what I ate, I shall oblige. I devoured the macaroni and cheese, bread, and cookies that I piled onto my plate. Thinking back on it now, I am quite glad that I ate before the presentation because it calmed my nerves a bit. Good thing my lunch didn’t decide to revisit me during my speech!
While lunch was in its closing stages, the president of the club initiated the announcements. I felt a bit out of place during all of this because all the topics were foreign to me. There was an awfully nice lady that stood up to talk about the cause she was advocating, and it struck a chord with me. She was lobbying for kids that were so negatively affected by the economic recession that they are unable to acquire the bare necessities that they need to succeed in the school year. What made her petition so strong and moving was that she extrapolated the future benefits of the project. If children are unable to succeed in the upcoming year, then the next year they will have a lesser chance of accomplishing. This snowball effect will eventually lead to more teenagers dropping out of high school, which is a fate that I wish to prevent. Unfortunately I was unprepared for donating money, so I neglected to bring with my wallet. It was to my dismay that I couldn’t help out a bit.
Once the announcements had concluded, it was time for me to get up in front of at least twenty people and tell them about my exchange. By now I had already met most of the people in the room so my nerves were at ease (well as relaxed as they could have been in that situation). But I had to embarrass myself just a bit (because that is just something I always seem to get right). I didn’t have a clue how to set up the projector to display my PowerPoint, but luckily there was a technical man in the vicinity that was able to come to my rescue! Just another prime example of how splendid the members of Rotary truly are! Once I had gotten a few words into my speech, it felt as if I were talking to some of my good friends.
I opened my PowerPoint with “About Me”. This was by far the most exciting part of the presentation because I am just an exciting and interesting person! (Maybe my mum was right when she said I needed to show a bit more humility :D) I then went on to explain why I wanted to be an exchange student (maybe a future blog?) and what I had gone through so far. And then there was some blah about challenges and finally some things about Regensburg, my host family, and my school. I thought about typing out my whole presentation for you to read, but then I realized it would be a bazillion (yes that is a word) pages, and it would take me forever!
When all was said and done the kind hearted members of Rotary gave me a pin and a pen, and there were many handshakes and smiles. But I have saved the best for last.
Each week the Highlands Ranch Rotary holds a raffle in which the winner receives the sum of money collected from those that bought a ticket. It was my duty as the guest speaker to draw the winning ticket, and with my psychic awesomeness I pulled the same member that had won last week. He thought it would only be fair to give me the money. But what did I do with the money? I gave it to the lady who had inspired me so by her oration of the kids in need. It really makes me feel good to help people!
It took all my will power not to construct this paragraph, but the scientist in my ignored my pleas, and so here I am… writing this paragraph. I once read a journal of Richard Dawkins called The Selfish Gene. He proposed the idea that there is no selfless act in human nature. No one does something without getting something in return. I think that this may be a very viable statement. If one does something with no tangible reward, they still feel an emotional reward. The reward is a sense of good doing and accomplishment. This is not to say that doing things for other people without material reward has less meaning or importance, but it brings a new definition to the word: selfless.
So the moral of the story is that I shouldn’t worry about things as silly as a presentation. And more importantly I shouldn’t stress things that are out of my control. But what are the chances that I am going to take my advice?