#1 Why I am here (again)

I am one of the three returning students from last year’s What’s the Story cohort. I am here because the experiences, opportunities, and skills my first year of What’s the Story presented me with. It is one of the only classes I have taken which has the potential to be just as valuable the second time as the first.  Working on my topic last year sparked an enthusiasm for filmmaking and editing which I am eager to build upon both in this course and other classes I will take.

Near the end of last year, the teams were able to take advantage of additional opportunities beyond creating a documentary. My team went to the Dynamic Landscapes presentation at Champlain College as Keynote Speakers. This experience was valuable for several key reasons. One: it gave us the opportunity to talk about our work as a team in front of an audience hundreds of people, full of educators and administrators. While this was an extremely valuable experience it did present some challenges. We had only synthesized our presentation a few days before the event and we never got the opportunity to practice with each other in person or run through the process on the stage before the real thing. We pulled through with some minor technical difficulties and some nervousness from the situation. I realized I had never been in this position before. School had prepared me to present informational powerpoints to a small group of familiar people. I knew I could do it but I knew I wouldn’t be exceptional. I glued myself to the podium and spoke from my notes. We pushed through the challenge but I was struck by the experience. I knew I wanted to get closer to that level of exceptional speakers that can maintain their train of thought whilst being dynamic and engaging. This prompted me to take a class called Effective speaking at UVM over the summer.  While that one class by no means made me exceptional it built upon my skills and gave me the confidence to know I was heading in the right direction.

This returned me to the mindset I had when applying to What’s the Story  that first year. If I’m interested in something I’m not going to avoid putting myself in an uncomfortable place because that is a place of growth. Returning this year I will continue to have this mindset and push myself to do more and to dig deeper, stretching my skills by maintaining that level of discomfort.


Kati Tolgyesi

2 Responses to “#1 Why I am here (again)

  • Hi Kati,

    I’m so glad to see you back in WTS for many reasons. You are such a contemplative and thoughtful person, I’m eager to start to see where your interests take you this year. It was also powerful to read your reflection on the Dynamic Landscapes conference and see, through your eyes, what was inspiring and challenging about the event and how those two things are interrelated and pushed you to continue to think about those skill sets with your work this summer.

    I look forward to our year ahead.

  • This background was really helpful.

    My career in education has ended up involving a lot of public speaking. It sounds like your goals for how you would like to grow as a presenter contain a lot of insight about what good presenting involves. For me, I’ve found that I need to balance the amount of preparation that I do. Just enough to make sure I know what I want to say, but not so much that it interferes with spontaneity. My best moments of presenting are almost always things that I didn’t plan to say or share.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that, like many things, it just gets easier and easier the more you do it. The fact that you have already keynoted an event is amazing! And I’m so thrilled that you are looking for further opportunities to share your ideas to broad audiences. I can already tell that you have a lot to teach.

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