Overcoming Stage Fright

When I was little, I had severe stage fright. We’re talking SEVERE. For example, when I was just 3 years old, I marched up to my dance instructor, an intimidating former Rockette, and informed her that I wouldn’t be performing at our very first mini-recital. Just like that, my career ended, just two weeks after it began. And from then on, my parents made a rule that I always had to finish what I started, which meant FULL seasons of cheerleading, basketball, volleyball, etc.

Modeling some African clothing styles.

While I’ve grown up and changed over the last 21 years, being at Fuqua has stretched and tested me in many new ways.  While I’m not afraid of being in front of crowds of people anymore, in our Business Communication II class, we learned how to give presentations without the comfort of using notes AT ALL. At first, I was afraid I was going to be the next YouTube sensation and that I’d butcher my speech, but by the end of the class, I felt extremely comfortable speaking in front of people and I got a lot of great feedback about sounding ‘natural’ and ‘conversational.’

A couple of weeks ago, I stepped out of my comfort zone in a new way. A classmate asked me if I wanted to help out with a fashion show as a model. Modeling?! I really don’t mind standing up in front of people if I have something to say, but this was just walking. And having people watch my every move. Yikes!

The event, Kuumba: An Evening of Black Expression, was for the MMS Black and Latino Business Association and the Black Law Students Association. In between awesome performances by poets, dance groups (including a great performance by a group of my MMS classmates!), and other performers, we modeled 3 lines: African clothing, Caribbean clothing, and business casual.

Needless to say, I survived. I got to wear a couple of gorgeous outfits, made some new friends, and had a great time doing something that a younger version of me would’ve gone running from. I think the best experiences are the ones that intimidate you the most, you grow from, and at the end they make you think, “what was I afraid of, again?” Experiences like this are challenges that Fuqua offers me every day.

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Courtney Starzer

MMS: FOB, Class of 2013

I attended Cornell after being raised in upstate New York. I have a passion for marketing which led me to pursue a degree in communication and related roles within the MMS class.

Learn more about Courtney | View all of Courtney's Posts

  • Tanisha Brown

    Great story! I was really nervous about the fashion show too actually. I never volunteer to be on stage, but it was really a lot of fun.

  • Courtney Starzer

    Thanks Tanisha! I’m glad the event ended up being a great experience for everyone :)