Copyright Timothy Paterson
Vanessa was not too fond of speaking in public, but she needed another elective and her roommate, Sandy talked her into taking a speech class with her.
It was Vanessa’s first semester of college and her first time away from home. Her parents were only a hundred miles away from the university, but it may as well have been a thousand. Vanessa lived in a dorm on campus and only saw her parents on weekends.
Midway through the semester, the communications professor gave the class a rather odd assignment. Each student was to give a speech describing the best or worst gift he or she had ever received in their lives and explain their reasons for their answer.
As she sat in her dorm room, Vanessa wrote the rough draft for her speech. The more she wrote, the more homesick she became. She became overwhelmed with a flood of emotions. Before she was finished, Vanessa had to stop and call home. Vanessa and her mother talked for over an hour and both of them shed many tears during their conversation.
After Vanessa hung up the phone, she worked on her speech for another hour before going to bed. The next evening, she wrote the second draft of the speech and the next day, she wrote the final draft.
At the next communications class, the students were asked to read their papers to the rest of the class. The students selected pieces of paper to see what order they would read their papers. Vanessa picked the number ten.