By: Jackie Curtis, EC Scholar and Honors College Sophomore
“My advice for incoming freshmen: don’t be afraid to try new things! Step out of your comfort zone a little bit – you’ll be amazed how much you can learn about yourself!” So I wrote as I sat in my room thinking about the millions of things I could say to the incoming freshmen at Convocation. Out of all the ideas I had come up with, this one seemed, rather ironically, very fitting for the occasion.
A week before, I had received an email asking for volunteers to compete in a lip-sync battle at ECU’s Convocation. The email was from an Honors College faculty member, so instead of doing my homework and confirming the details, I assumed that the email was referring to the Honors College Convocation. I responded to the email saying that I would like to participate, thinking that a solo performance in front of a relatively small group of my Honors College peers would be a beneficial transition from my past experience with choirs and musical theater chorus ensembles.
At some point, as I was reading through the long stream of emails that ensued regarding the lip-sync battle, I came to the startling realization that it was not, in fact, the Honors College Convocation at which I had volunteered to lip-sync. It was the general college Convocation – the one that close to five thousand freshmen would be attending.
To give some personal background, just about anyone who knows me would say that I am shy, quiet and reserved. I am an introvert. I like listening more than talking. I don’t want to be the center of attention. My agreeing to take center stage in front of what I thought would be around two hundred people was a pretty big deal. Needless to say, I was slightly unnerved when I realized my misunderstanding. The idea of performing in front of thousands of people was not especially appealing.
Fast-forward to the day of Convocation: I showed up at Minges a few hours before convocation began to run through my routine. I had a great time watching my fellow competitors rehearse, watched as thousands of freshmen poured into the arena, took a few deep breaths before I went onstage in front of everyone, and then proceeded to have the time of my life. I absolutely loved every second I was performing. I never could have imagined that I would have so much fun doing something so far outside my comfort zone.
I will never forget the feeling I had while I was onstage performing. I will also never forget the lessons I learned through this experience. Number one: read emails thoroughly before agreeing to do things. Number two: “step out of your comfort zone a little bit – you’ll be amazed how much you can learn about yourself!”