By Grace Lim and Morgan Counts
Learn from Losing
It is difficult to think of Jennifer Considine as anything but optimistic. She oozes positivity. Even when a photographer asks her to look serious for a few shots, she tries but fails spectacularly. Her irrepressible grin tugs at the corners of her mouth. The hint of a smile soon gives way to full-blown heaving guffaws. Before long, everyone, including the photographer, laughs along.
Dr. Jennifer Considine with her sons Isiah, 3, and Isaac, 5.
This is why the story Considine, an associate professor of Communication Studies at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, tells about her first major speech is such a delight.
“When I was in fifth grade I gave a speech to the Optimists Club. I cried through the whole thing because I was so nervous,” she said with smile. “Yes, I gave a speech about optimism while crying.”
As Considine tells the story, her tears weren’t only anxiety driven, they were equal parts outrage. The other competitors, several years older and in high school, weren’t following the rules, which stated that entrants had to memorize their speech. But after watching the older kids read their entries, Considine, who did memorize her speech, took to the stage and promptly burst into tears. “It felt very unfair, and I cried through the whole thing.”
If Considine’s story had been made into an after-school TV special, her tear-ridden speech would have won over the judges who would have rightfully disqualified the other contestants. But it wasn’t feel-good TV, and Considine didn’t win. “I was told afterward that I had a really, really great speech, but…” Considine said, pausing for effect as a polished storyteller would, “I had to work on my delivery.”
To read the entire story, please down the Jennifer Considine PDF.