Samuel Song | St. Lawrence University Performance and Communication Arts

Samuel Song

Class year: 
PCA (Theatre/Performance)
Gaithersburg, MD

I decided to apply to become a PCA major because it is a field of study that I take genuine interest in and believe that I can excel in. I’ve had an enjoyable experience with my Intro to Public Speaking class in my freshman year that changed how I understood the study of rhetoric, performance, and communications as well as myself and my own capabilities and aspirations. I have learned that not only is it a practical and necessary skill for an individual to be able to clearly and effectively speak his or her mind, but also that I can see myself succeed in this major.

I first signed up for the Intro to Public Speaking course because I felt like I ought to learn how to communicate my thoughts before a crowd. Like most people, growing up through public school, I have often felt nervous and anxious when I am told that I must speak in front of the class. To overcome this fear, I thought that a logical remedy to my dilemma would be to enroll in a public speaking course. Entering the class, I anticipated the class to be a laborious challenge for me, given how nervous I have felt before about speaking before a crowd of people.

However, the class quickly disproved my expectations, as I learned that I actually enjoyed speaking in front of the crowd, a feeling that I had never experienced before while growing up. My grades were fine, I got along with my classmates, and my confidence in my stage presence rose. If before I had felt shy and apprehensive about standing to give a speech, I felt after that semester that it was a skill of mine. I could not have done as well as I did without the support of my professor, Allie Rowland. One day, she held me after class to tell me that she thought I should apply to become a PCA major because she believed I could do well. At the end of the school year, she handed me a certificate for “Most Humorous Speaker”, which was surprising to me because I did not see myself before as a comedic individual.

The best part about the class was that it was the first academic experience in which I felt truly like myself, vulnerable and unconcealed. I was never told to preach anything I did not believe in. My job was to listen to the lectures, do my homework, and when it came time, say what I had to say, but convince my class that my words were sincere. My Intro to Public Speaking class provided me with the tools and the courage to stand tall before my contemporaries and speak my mind without fear of judgment or misunderstanding, and this has simply overall made me a more confident individual.

It is my hope that with this degree, I can use my oratory and communication skills to earn a sustainable living for myself and bring about stable, meaningful change in my community. It is in light of my positive experience with my public speaking course and the department staff that I humbly apply for the PCA major in rhetoric and communication studies.