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most of my life living “withI spent severe social anxiety. A case of anxiety that was so bad that I wasn’t able to walk into any type of institution with a lot of people without hyperventilating and crying. My anxiety forced me to stop school from the tender age of nine. At that point, my parents had no idea what to do with me as they never understood a mental condition such as this. I ended up being homeschooled throughout the remainder of my schooling days. When it was time to go to University, I couldn’t do it alone and found out that having a safety net, like a person would help me go through my social anxiety. So, I waited for my younger sister, TM Nada Qamber, to finish from High school and then only would I go. As months flew by, a professor of ours told us that we were perfect to join a club she helped mentor. After the first meeting, Nada, myself, and Sarah Marie joined the Young Adult Toastmasters Club. There started my journey on how to conquer social anxiety. Now if you’re asking why is this big story relevant to Toastmasters, well fellow members, this orgnisation helped me fight social anxiety by putting me in a safe

environment to make mistakes and with people who can each act as my safety net. Then slowly, it took me out of my comfort zone and had me meet new people on a bigger level during area, division and district contests. Toastmasters helped me do every school project and presentation. It helped me win awards at school, get straight ‘A’s’ and helped me deliver my Summa Cumlaude speech as I addressed thousands of students and their families during our University graduation. It helped me approach a person to ask for directions when I’m lost. It helped me make small talk with waiters, ask for the bill and just deliver a small joke to a stranger. It helped me become more confident in myself, and really helped me understand that flaws are things you change if you can, and something you embrace if you can’t. Toastmasters isn’t just about speeches or leadership roles. It’s their ability to change a person’s perspective about themselves, and the world. It also teaches them that it is okay to make mistakes because we always learn from them. Bottom line is Toastmasters was the therapy I needed to conquer my social anxiety when no other medical institution can.

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