Lily Campbell finds confidence through her past experiences


Lily Campbell

Senior Lily Campbell is unaffected by the socialization nightmares many face. At one time or another, most people get into a social situation that they’d rather not be in. Whether that be nervous to talk to someone or unsure of how to put a thought into words, teenagers especially experience this social awkwardness.

Lily’s journey to becoming socially confident began in her sophomore year when she was asked to take part in the yearly tradition FHC Inspires. She performed a TED Talk named “The Art of Small Talk.”

While Lily had clearly nailed her small talk speech on paper, the big talk posed an unexpected challenge.

“When I got asked to do FHC Inspires by [English teacher Ken] George, I was so nervous,” Lily said. “I hated public speaking. I had a mental breakdown the day before. I was like, ‘I cannot do it.’”

Thankfully, that fateful day, Lily put on a brave face and stood up to her fears. As she performed her TED Talk, all of the built-up fear inside of her drained away.

“Now that I [had done] it, it was such a big accomplishment for me,” Lily said. “Just being able to get up there and do [the TED talk] and say I did it was really huge. Now, public speaking is a breeze for me; I don’t get nervous anymore. It was a really great experience.”

Just being able to get up there and do [the TED talk] and say I did it was really huge. Now, public speaking is a breeze for me; I don’t get nervous anymore. It was a really great experience.

— Lily Campbell

Besides getting over her own fear, Lily has made great strides towards helping others. The topic of her TED Talk—small talk—was something many teens hope to master in order to avoid otherwise awkward moments.

Lily’s small talk speech addressed an issue in both a factual and topical way, and when factored in with her newfound spirit, it was no surprise that George had selected her for the event. She explained how to talk to someone when you first meet them and how to prevent a conversation from dying.

The TED talk from her Honors English 10 class still brings influence into the lives of herself and others today.

Lily—who is the editor-in-chief of the yearbook—uses her social skills to help her fellow yearbook staff and comfortably direct them.

“I try my best to keep the conversation flowing and [to help] people get to know their subjects,” said Lily, who has been on the yearbook staff since her junior year. “Especially in yearbook, interviewing is a really big part of it. To have good questions for the book is really important too, so learning how to talk to those people is important.”

It’s not just in the yearbook where certainty in public speaking is helpful; Lily has found that her skills have come in handy in other classes as well.

While class presentations are typically terrifying for many, Lily didn’t have trouble after her debut in FHC Inspires.

“Before I [spoke at FHC Inspires], I wasn’t really confident in myself, and I would get nervous and kind of shy,” Lily said. “Now, I’m definitely much more confident in my abilities, and I know I can do it, so I don’t really get as nervous anymore.”

Since coming out of her shell of shyness, Lily has improved her life in many aspects, including socially and academically. She is now much more comfortable and communicates far more effectively with her peers.

“I find that people tend to listen to me more when I’m much more confident in myself,” Lily said. “With the public speaking, [it] kind of just adds another layer of assurance, like I know I can do that.”