Paulette Gardner

When I was expecting my second child, I looked at my life and wanted more for my children. I decided to go to A-B Tech. I knew the only way I would be able to give them the life they deserved was by going back to school.

At first, I was overwhelmed by social anxiety that seemed to reemerge from childhood and high school memories. I was intimidated by instructors and terrified of public speaking. I decided to face my fears, unlike choices I made in high school, where I frequently accepted lower letter grades on assignments to avoid giving an oral presentation.

I was able to fully address my fear of public speaking when I received an invitation to Phi Theta Kappa. My advisor frequently gave me opportunities to speak to small groups. Nine months after receiving my invitation, I decided to campaign for President of the Carolinas Region of Phi Theta Kappa. I was elected president after giving a speech to over two-hundred people. I may never be completely comfortable with public speaking, but my experience at A-B Tech has shown me that trying is important because you never know what you can achieve until you try.