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Bearcats face their fears at P.A.W.S’ ‘Stage vs. Fright’

Students had an opportunity to make their voices heard and practice their public speaking during “Stage vs. Fright,” an event hosted by Baruch College’s Office of Health and Wellness on Nov. 12.

The event brought out the best of the students and encouraged all students to speak their minds, regardless of the fear and anxiety that they may have from appearing before an audience.

The featured speaker, Heather Schultz, an adjunct lecturer in the department of communication studies at Baruch, taught how to develop elevator pitches and better communication skills.

During the event, Schultz shared some tips for students to reduce the build-up of stress and nervousness due to stage fright. Students learned the significance of loving and forgiving themselves while simultaneously accepting their stage fright, in order to understand who they are as communicators and work on such skills. 

When asked what motivated the organizers of “Stage vs. Fright” to host the event, Kat Raymond, who is currently a senior as well as an advocate for P.A.W.S., said, “We have done this program for 3 years now. The original concept and the continued concept are to help Baruch students enhance their public speaking skills.” 

Raymond further explained that the event is for two types of students: students who are interested in deepening their speaking skills and students who are interested in further enhancing their speaking skills. 

It was comprised of various activities like karaoke and performing short poems and speeches in front of an audience to understand the importance of being comfortable with being uncomfortable. 

“There is a lot more gravitas with your voice when you speak something you are passionate about,” Aliou Traore, vice president of the Zicklin Undergraduate Tax Society, expressed. “You naturally accentuate the word’s meaning; you emphasize on vowels and certain words so that people actually pick up on certain terms to help get your point across.” 

He continued, “I love public speaking. I plan to be a motivational speaker and move the crowd by touching their emotional strings.”

The energy of the event continued as students participated in interesting discussions and questions on how to combat their stage fright and learn different ways to empower themselves. 

The event also pointed to some of the great resources Baruch has, which are free and highly recommended for everyone looking to develop their communication skills.

These include Tools for Clear Speech program for non-native English speakers, the Writing Center for help editing papers and essays, the Baruch Performing Arts Center to see how different performers interact with the audience and the communication studies department to learn how to publicly speak and perform better through taking various classes. 

“Even though I have been teaching public speaking for three years, this event is a learning experience for me,” Schultz said. “And I loved coming here.”

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