As stated in the title, I have a problem with my speech and I’m not sure if it’s related to anxiety. I have always struggled with social anxiety so I thought there might be a link. I’m in post-secondary education now and have completed my first year in Accounting & Finance. At first, I was scared because there are a lot of group projects and presentations, and with social anxiety, I am terrified of public speaking. I managed to give all 6 presentations without much problem, though I was unsatisfied with my performance on 2 of them (more on this later). My success with giving presentations did give me some confidence boost that public speaking is not as scary as I’ve imagined.
I am unhappy with my course however and have been contemplating changing to something else. Not because of anxiety but I have internship experience which made me realize that I won’t be happy with accounting as a future career. Previously, I graduated with a cert in accounting from a technical school with a required internship. Despite that, I chose to continue studying accounting & finance anyway because it’s easy admission. Hence, I want to change my course to gerontology, a social science field about the study of aging and the career prospects of working with older adults. I have a soft spot for old people, so I don’t feel anxious around them. My dream career is one that makes a difference in people’s lives and I have in mind two groups of people specifically that I would enjoy working with because of personal experience – special needs kids and old people. Since my education institution offers a gerontology diploma, I think it could be a really good opportunity for me to expose myself to this field and gain first-hand experience through a compulsory internship working with old people.
This is where the problem with my anxiety and speech issues comes in. I’m not sure specifically what my speech problem is since there are different types out there. So let me illustrate with the 2 presentations I’ve mentioned earlier.
One was a group presentation which I thought was quite okay until the lecturer gave us her comments about our performances. For my group, she said one of us has trouble with pronunciation and even though she didn’t say who it was, I knew she was referring to me. Tbh, I was surprised because I worked with my classmates for group projects and we usually had practice presentations prior to the actual presentations but nobody said anything about my speech. So I thought my speech issue wasn’t too obvious. I felt upset with the lecturer’s comment even though the comment was constructive rather than criticism. She gave a piece of useful advice, to look up the pronunciation of words using an online dictionary. Actually, it’s not that I don’t know how to pronounce words but some words just come out sounding off.