Finding My Voice: Ava’s College Essay

Finding My Voice: Ava's College Essay

Ava Chase, Writer

When I was seven years old, I went over to my best friend’s house. At one point, I finally worked up the courage to serenade Emma with “Love Story” by Taylor Swift, which I had been practicing alone in my room for months. I trusted Emma with my fears, my hesitations, and my ultimate risk of hitting that first note. Before this performance, my mom was the only person who had ever heard me sing.

Even after my brave concert with Emma as my audience, it was a long journey to gaining confidence in publicly sharing my musical talents. In kindergarten, I was the one student who escaped standing in front of the entire lower school to individually recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Many of my peers reflected on their experiences and determined that it was beneficial for Bancroft to encourage five-year-olds to conquer stage fright at such a young age. Without a similar experience, I retained the fear of speaking in front of even my small classes of ten peers. I was very shy, and while I’m not sure that my clever escape of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance was the whole reason for this, I’m sure it contributed. As I got older, I joined the chorus and was a side character in the two required school plays, but I did not try out for roles with many lines. I never performed a solo. I wanted to sing in a group, but I didn’t want to be noticed. I wanted to be surrounded by beautiful music, but I didn’t want my individual voice to be heard.

Near the end of eighth grade, I took a significant step forward when I courageously performed a solo. Eighth graders are expected to present a Forum, a five-minute presentation on a topic of their choice in front of the entire middle school. To this day, I don’t remember what song I sang. But I remember looking into the audience and seeing my advisor crying and my peers smiling. I may not have recited the Pledge of Allegiance, but I hope I redeemed myself with that song. 

Since then, I have reaped the benefits of taking that risk, as I have noticed a profound difference in the way I present myself in public: I am much more outspoken. No longer am I afraid to share my questions and comments in classes; in fact, my friends sometimes request that I ask the teacher their questions in discussions. They trust me to amplify their voices. Through my performances and times on the stage, I have transformed. 

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