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God my IOP is due in about 2 weeks and I'm so behind and suck so badly at public speaking. I stutter and sweat and get nervous.

I've picked to do it over "***** Hero" (A poem about dorris miller in ww2 and racism in the military and him saving many lives but feeling like he's not good enough to the whites he saved) by Gwendolyn Brooks. I wanted to do something with music and compare some songs to it. I wanted to make my thesis over the theme and analyze how Brooks uses literary terms to support my claim on the theme but I DON'T KNOOOOOW!

I feel so behind from everyone else in my class. Someone please god help me I'm desperate.


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I'm really sorry to hear this. First off, I know firsthand that public speaking anxiety feels horrible, and it's really tough to get past. Know that you are not alone and there are various things you can do to help calm your nerves, including practicing at home, shaking your arms and legs before going up to perform (scientists have found that this removes anxiety quite a bit, like shaking off water) and possibly going out into a hall and doing a "power stance" (yes I know this sounds stupid but it actually boosts your confidence). Give yourself a mantra, not just "I'm going to do great", but "even if I do mess up, in the grand scheme of things, it will not hurt me".

Alright, onto your topic. You have a good idea with taking a poem and analyzing it through connection to other pieces related to the topic. If you were to connect it to a song (and for simplicity I recommend just one song), try matching it to the context of the poem, and make sure to focus not too much on "musical" aspects like rhythm or melody, but on the words chosen. In planning out your IOP, I suggest looking through the poem and looking for sound devices and literary devices that emphasize a certain point FIRST. For example, "there is alliteration of the "b" sound. Could this be an emphasis on the loud beating of so-and-so's heart? An idea of fear?" And then connect to how fear arises in the song you have chosen and the purpose in each to bring about an idea of a topic in the poem and song. That's just an example, but I hope that process makes sense: Device in poem, purpose of device, similar device in song, how the two bring about an idea, connection to overall thesis. 

I hope this helps and I wish you luck on your IOP. Don't let the stress be a burden. Exercise a little (even if it's just jumping up and down for a minute) to shake the anxiety off, and get your mind off of the IOP and do other things every once in a while. If you have any more concerns PLEASE feel free to continue asking about the IB Forums.


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