This week's blog is written by our EUSA president, Jonny Ross-Tatam. He first wrote his post in November, following our Ideas Spotlight event at Mash House. Find the original post here .
The other week I was at the TEDx University of Edinburgh event at the Mash House. There were 15, sometimes inspirational, sometimes ingenious, three-minute talks on the topic of ‘How Does It Start?’ (appropriately vague for TEDx of course!) There were, some seasoned TEDx performers – like Johanna Holtan, serial social entrepreneur and founder of both TEDx UoE and Portobello. But most of the speakers were just people sitting in the audience, students who took the courage to put their names in the hat, ready to share their ideas, stories and passions for three-minutes in front of over 100 complete strangers.
Most were slightly nervous when stepping on to the stage, staring into the blinding white light and the slightly intimidating TEDx logo perched behind them. Who wouldn’t be? But after about 30 seconds, all of them got into their stride and found their rhythm and delivered punchy and insightful talks. None of them failed to bring the audience to their feet and make them whoop loudly in appreciation.
All of them did something very special that evening. They took a step out of their comfort zone and overcame whatever fear they had. One student speaker said emphatically after coming onto the stage, ‘I’m s******g myself guys…not gonna lie’. But afterwards I caught up with her, and she said ‘wow that was amazing…I’m never going to be as nervous speaking in front of people again’. She, and all the other students, gave it a go last night and that is what EUSA’s ‘Give It a Go’ campaign over the next two weeks is all about. Between 7 – 22 of November, societies, volunteering groups and sports clubs are putting on free taster sessions for any student to try out.
The TEDx event was hosted by comedy duo and Improverts (Edinburgh’s improvised comedy group), Pedro and Caroline. They told their story about how they ended up doing improvised comedy. Pedro’s started in the slightly more gloomy days of 1st year, when he was stuck in a cycle of (his words) ‘going to the Big Cheese, crying and snogging’. So he went along to a workshop with the Improverts at Bedlam Theatre and found that he had a love for this style of comedy. Both Pedro and Caroline said that this is where they have met many of their best friends and built a home away from home. ‘That’s important in a uni that’s so big and so easy to feel lost in’.
There are stories like this all around the University. People following their instincts, trying something new and developing a passion for something outside of their degree. Whether you have a hidden passion for public speaking, improvised comedy, drumming, and any kind of modern dance, yoga or anything else – take a step out of your comfort zone, try something new, it could be the best decision you ever make.