Blogging Under Pressure

Hello, dear readers. This is the last blog post assigned for my class. Can you believe that it has already been 12 weeks? Thank you for coming on this journey with me. I think I might have a few more tales, so I may choose to continue writing (but I definitely think I need a week or two off). Either way, it seemed fitting to finish this semester assignment with a tale about one of the other courses I have been taking this semester. Here we go!

The face of someone who deserves a diploma @Carolina

I am a second-semester senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and am just trying to graduate (Please, Carolina. I beg of you, give me the diploma). I came into college with a semester’s worth of credits because of the Advanced Placement courses I took in high school; I took a full course load every semester; I took classes during EVERY summer break. I am graduating with 154 credit hours under my belt (you only need 120 to graduate), but somehow I still managed to avoid a few required classes until right now. While a lot of my friends are chilling this semester, I have been consumed by the fear that I will not graduate. I do not give myself all the blame, though. There is one class that I have been waiting to take for 4 years: Policy 305. It was finally offered this semester and I jumped on it. WOO HOO!! I DID IT! I AM GOING TO GRADUATE!! If you go to the fancy Carolina Course Catalog, Policy 305 is listed as “Communicating Public Policy.” I was so excited because I want to be a public servant and communicate about public policy for a living. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has my heart so I knew this was going to be my time to shine.

When I got to class, I discovered that this course is actually called “Communicating Under Pressure.” YOU TRICKED ME!! I sat and wondered if it was too late to change my major because communicating under pressure seemed like it would not be a great time. It turns out, your final semester is too late to change your major. Every time my professor would call on me in class, I would ask myself, “Is this a test? If so, I am failing.” The goal of this course is to help us speak when we are under duress. We focus a lot on the physical aspect of speaking: breathing, rhythm, vocal variance, tempo, volume, so on and so forth. It is basically a public speaking class, but when I really started to think about it, I knew that this was my worst nightmare coming true. Even so, I also knew that this was going to be good for me. I was going to be pushed outside of my comfort zone, and an inspirational magnet I saw one time said that is where life begins. I decided to buy in and give it everything I have. By gosh, I am going to learn to communicate under pressure. People are going to look to me during important moments and I am going to handle anything that comes my way (those are positive affirmations, follow me for more wisdom).

The Wall V: Trying to become one with my breath

A major component of this course is working through a series of weekly video exercises in the privacy of your home. If any of you have seen my apartment, you know that I do not have any privacy. Bailey and I share this box and she cannot help but laugh when she sees me laid out on the floor working on my vocalizing or massaging my tongue (It is crucial. Does it make me gag every single time? Yes, but it is important for strengthening your tongue so you can speak louder. Facts.). Bailey was keeping y’all in mind and actually got some photographic and video evidence of my exercises. I will share them with you but know that I was trying to take this so seriously. Bailey is just a bad influence (just kidding, she is the greatest).

We never could decide what was funnier, when I lost it or when Bailey lost it so enjoy both

This is actually an in-person class, so twice a week I am around other humans. One of our class assignments was to stand up in front of the class and answer questions about a policy we had just made up about exotic animal ownership. Our professor was watching us breathe and giving feedback. Because of the room setup, I was slated to go at the end. Nearly every person before me just had to put their hands on their chest to feel it move while they were breathing. I had that in the bag. I was so prepared to feel my chest moving while I was breathing. BUT … I am apparently a little more advanced when it comes to breathing so when I started speaking, he stopped me and asked, “You like to swing, don’t you?” Um, excuse me what? Swinging is one of the exercises that we do (don’t worry, Bailey has a video). My professor made me stand up in front of the class, swing my body and yell out numbers. I very much did not want to do that, but this assignment was graded and I will do just about anything if there is a grade attached to it (even do zombie runs to train for a mile run). I stood up in front of that class and started swinging like my graduation depended on it (because it kind of did). He responded to my journal entry that week and said that I was so brave and an inspiration. Sir, you made me do that but okay.

Practicing the Swing (I did smack my hand on my desk if you were wondering)

A common thing that my professor says is, “Dare to make a fool of yourself.” I have learned that roughly translates to, “Don’t worry, class. Brynn will make a fool of herself for you.” I think I have become the designated person to do weird stuff in that class. If anyone has a question about something, my professor will say, “You know who I think can demonstrate that for you … BRYNN.” If you hate me, just say it. We have recently started working on vocal variance and rhythm (I would like to note that I would be nothing without spell-check; I have misspelled rhythm every single time it has come up in this post. Thank you, spell check!). We have a list of terms to help us think of rhythm more tangibly; think of dabbing your words, or wringing, or floating. One of the terms is lightning. Someone asked, “What would a lightning rhythm sound like?” You know what happened next. I was asked to demonstrate lightning. I came back to the apartment and recounted this tale to Bailey and she asked me to show her what I did because my words were not truly encapsulating the experience. She recorded it because I think she just likes to have access to embarrassing videos of me in case she ever needs to blackmail me. The joke’s on you, Bailey because I am going to share it with the world right now. “Dare to make a fool of yourself.”

Demonstrating the lightning rhythm; This is very advanced stuff

Me and my best friend Bailey (right)

I know that I give Bailey a hard time in a lot of my posts, but she really is my best friend in the entire world. When I had to memorize a self-driving cars policy pitch for this class, guess who sat and let me practice presenting it to her a hundred times. Bailey. She knows it now too; we were both reciting it in our sleep last night. Did it take us a lot longer to get it because we can’t look at each other without laughing? Yes. Did I end up having to sing the presentation as if I was Dolly Parton (Dolly, if you are reading this, I love you!) to memorize the words. Also yes. But we did it because we are a great team. There is no one I would have rather done these four years of college with. Bailey, thank you for being my best friend and putting up with me.

Bailey did not want me to include this photo, but it always cracks me up

This got a little too sappy for me. I do not care for emotions, so let’s get to food! Bailey and I love giving back to our community and supporting restaurants on Franklin Street. Doesn’t that sound so much better than saying we are lazy, have not been to the grocery store, and would have had to provide a recipe for a dry bowl of cereal because we do not even have milk right now? Tonight, we will be supporting one of our favorites: Sup Dogs! While we were there, we had a margarita and a serious discussion about whether or not I could win a hot dog eating contest. The speed at which I inhaled those dogs suggests that I could.


How to Support Local Restaurants

My raspberry margarita and Simple Dog Combo from Sup Dogs

  1. Go to the local restaurant and give them your money!

  2. That’s pretty much it. You do not have to cook, so it seems like a win-win to me.