Elisabeth - Westlake, Ohio
Entered on May 8, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Whenever I have an opinion, or feel strongly about something, I am never afraid to voice it. I feel that if you don’t put in your opinion, how will others know what you are thinking? I am the president of student council and German club, a superior public speaker, and co-captain of the varsity softball team. All these roles I have taken on have made me realize how important it is to speak up so that everyone can hear you, whether it’s figuratively or literally.

I am not afraid of public speaking. Some people sit there, trembling, awaiting dreadfully to be called on to give their speech or present a project. In public speaking class this past year, there was always one girl that would give her speech, and her lack of confidence and apprehension was just so obvious. She would stand up straight at the podium; rest her arms to give off a sense of composure, but clench onto the edge with a grip as if she was holding on for dear life. She would stumble over words and hurriedly rush through phrases that you could tell she wrote word for word down on her note card. If she expressed herself better by projecting her voice, and wasn’t afraid of the class, I think she would have done excellent.

I wished every time that this girl could have a little boost of confidence to get over her obvious fear of public speaking, and to be able to stand up and express what she believed in. Was it because of a lack of confidence? I guess I’ll never know because I have never had a problem with speaking up. I am always the first to volunteer, having the confidence to present what I had worked so hard on. Fear does not overcome me when I speak in front of many people, or even my classmates. I wish that girl from my class would have spoken up; because I’m sure her beliefs, opinions, or ideas would have captured my attention in some way. Sometimes people express things that you have never thought of. Sometimes people express things that you would have never thought of on your own. These ideas can run through your head all day long, or just leave because you feel completely different. Regardless, what other people say can have an effect on you.

If you are confident in what you have to present, and comfortable with the subject, there is no reason not to speak up and be heard. I know that even the most boring topic can become interesting based on your tone, and the way your confidence shines through. Surprisingly, you may even be the voice for other people who are too afraid to speak up. Speaking up, whether it’s for your beliefs, during a class, or while playing a sport, is the only way people will hear you. I believe that in order to be heard, you must speak up.