I still remember quite distinctly how I felt before walking into my first Gavel meeting. The meeting was to be held at the Independence Square and as I was walking towards the meeting place, I felt nervous. Though I didn’t have the clearest idea about what goes on in Gavel meetings, I knew it had a lot to do with speaking. I remember having this uneasy feeling in my stomach as I pondered on various scenarios that could take place at the meeting. Even though I was not terrified of public speaking, it somehow made me anxious and a little uncomfortable. “Will someone ask me to do a speech?” “What if I say something wrong?” “What if I do any mistakes?” These were the questions that ran through my mind.
As I reached the meeting place, I was greeted by a bunch of laughing Gaveliers who were chatting enthusiastically with each other. The meeting has not yet begun. At once, I began to regret my decision of showing up. The people there already knew each other and I started to feel out of place. Seeing that I was a newbie, some of them talked to me. I didn’t talk much; only briefly replied to the questions they asked. By the time the president arrived and called the meeting to order, I was a little tense. “It was a bad idea, deciding to come here!” That’s what I thought. The meeting continued and I learned that there was a session called the Round Robin Session where each person talks for 20 seconds on a theme chosen by the Round Robin Master. That day, we had to speak about our childhood memories and what we miss the most about our childhood. I nervously waited for my turn and I remember how extremely relieved I was after that 20 seconds were over. Rest of the meeting went perfectly well. I listened to so many good and interesting speeches and saw them being evaluated in the Evaluation sessions. I realized that these people do not judge us for our mistakes and that they only help us become better by helping us learn from our mistakes. By the end of that day, I had enjoyed myself quite a lot and had already made some new friends. I said to myself, “Maybe this isn’t a bad idea after all!”
I continued going for meetings and at each and every meeting I learned something new. I didn’t feel as tense as I felt at the first meeting and began to enjoy myself at the Round Robin Session. After speaking up only at the Round Robin Session for a few weeks, I got the chance to do a Table Topic speech. Hesitant at first, I was actually surprised at how well I managed to do it. Listening to a fellow Gavelier evaluating my speech, I became encouraged and motivated to do more speeches. I actually found myself looking forward to the Table Topics Session in the meetings. As time flew by, I even began to take up roles at meetings. Through Gavel, I began discovering myself.
Gavel taught and is continuing to teach me so many things. The most important thing I learned from Gavel is, “The more you speak, the easier it gets”. Looking back at how tense I was for having to speak for 20 seconds, I’m proud of the progress I’ve made. As I gave more and more speeches, it became easier and even fun.
Gavel encourages me, motivates me and inspires me to be the best version of myself. So, I’m glad I showed up at that first meeting, despite feeling uneasy and nervous. There are situations in life, where we feel like we have made the wrong decision even though it’s the right thing to do. But remember, that’s just your unwillingness acting up. The best thing I learned from Gavel has nothing to do with speaking at all. That is, the small decisions we make in life, decisions that might seem insignificant, can actually end up changing our life for the better.