There is this idea that has been sitting in the back of my mind since I was in 11th grade. I have pondered it, doubted it, tried to reach for it, took too much time to grab it, and got a second chance to achieve it. I love public speaking. No, I don’t love the fear of standing in front of a bunch of strangers and talking for ten minutes, but I love the challenge.

When I was sixteen and trying to decide what to do for my senior project, I considered the idea of applying for TEDx events and giving a speech about my experience in public education. I did do that (you can watch it here), just not at a TED event. It was a fantastic event, so many community members and friends showed up to support me, but it just made me want to achieve my goal of the TED stage that much more.

A few weeks before I graduated, I received a notification from a Facebook page I followed called “TEDx McGill.” I had come across this page while searching for a TED event to submit an application to and decided to follow it because it was relevant to me in two ways – TED and McGill. However, after doing some digging, I couldn’t find any evidence that this event would be returning for a 2018 session, so I gave up hope of participating in it. Low and behold, this independent TED stage was coming back and wanted applications for student speakers.

Long story short, I jumped at the opportunity. I took a month to write my application, edit it, edit it again, have other people edit it, worry if I should even apply, edit it some more, and then finally submit it today. I was nervous as I hit the final button, I wondered who I was up against and if I had said anything worth reading. I’ve never applied for anything like this before, so I couldn’t help but think that my words and justification for wanting to be a part of the event may not be relevant.

The people who run this event know who they’re looking for and that may not be me. I don’t know how many people applied or what they put on their application, but I do know that I am proud of myself for even submitting the damn thing. It has brought me so much anxiety and concern in the past weeks, I just wanted it out of my drive. I’m hopeful, maybe naively so, but I know that 98% of success is just “showing up” or in this case applying for what you want. So many people throw away opportunities because they doubt their abilities. Maybe I still doubt myself from time to time, but I don’t let those thoughts keep me from acting.


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