The TEDx MSU experience was over the top amazing. I will never forget the full day of events because it engaged me on every level and went full cycle, from learning to teaching.

In hindsight, a TEDx event is a lot like a wedding. You prepare every detail months in advance, roll with last-minute changes, and feel nerves in the air. Oh, and it’s not for everybody. That said, the high stakes and off-the-cuff changes energized me.

On the day of the talk, I purposefully wore two outfits because I knew I was going to sweat through the first. The day started at 7:30 am with a group picture of the speakers. All of my anxiety left after the photo. I knew I had to make it until the end of the day, and that meant keeping a cool head.

What I loved most about going second to last was the chance to watch the first two groups of TEDx speakers and learn from them. I thought sitting and listening for hours on end would get boring, but it wasn’t at all! The other speakers were engaging and thought-provoking. Above all, I respected that the other speakers were themselves. It reminded me that I was chosen to be my authentic self, and helped to ground me for telling my own story.

When it was time to go backstage before session three (my session and the final session of the day), all hell broke loose. I could feel the jitters and adrenaline of the other speakers in my session. The five presenters in the back room were feeding off each other’s nerves. I decided to do ten pushups, in my suit with Tyler Kingsbury, the last speaker of the day, to shake off some extra energy. Tyler went on to do 100 jumping jacks before her talk. We were provided a breathing coach that benefitted all of us in the green room. She was calming speakers down by having them breathe in positivity and let out self-doubt. The nerves were off the chart crazy.

What made TEDx so special for me was the amount of support I received from the people who showed up and the many more who watched the live stream. Now that TEDx MSU is in the rearview mirror, I am grateful for the experience and the friends, old and new, who shared it with me.