“Real Talk #nofilter” prepares for student edition in December

Shailey Shah and Robyn Guru, co-founders of Real Talk student edition. Photo taken by Emily Halstead.

Shailey Shah and Robyn Guru, co-founders of Real Talk student edition. Photo taken by Emily Halstead.

The student edition of Real Talk #NoFilter will take place Dec. 4 in the Connell Student Center in December. There will be five student speakers who will all speak on struggles that they have faced throughout their personal and academic lives and how they demonstrated resilience in these situations

Event co-chairs Shailey Shah and Robyn Guru said have been working tirelessly alongside Emily Halstead, assistant director of student success, and Hannah Vann, associate director of Mercer’s Quality Enhancement Plan, to prepare the speakers for this event.

In other words, they coach the speakers to help them become more comfortable with their story and expressing who they are within just one short talk.

“This event is important for speakers to take the time to reflect and process their journeys, but it is also just as important for the audience members who learn from each story at the event,” Guru said. “We simply coach to provide support for speakers to share what they feel is the most compelling part about their story.”

Guru is not the only one who feels that it is important for the speakers to become more comfortable with themselves and their stories. Vann also said that it is crucial for the speakers to cultivate their stories so that it will be easier for them to connect to the audience.

“I’m so proud of our students for having the courage to be vulnerable and share their stories with others,” Vann said. “All five of the speakers are motivated by a sense of responsibility to help their peers feel less alone, and their stories are humble, authentic, and relatable.”

Donald Blankenship, senior religion major at Mercer, said that he decided to be a speaker at Real Talk because he felt the responsibility to his peers that Vann described. He said he wants to make a positive impact on other students and be able to relate to them in order to make them feel less alone.

“Real Talk brings important topics and subjects to light which people would normally feel uncomfortable speaking about,” Blankenship said. “I felt like I had a responsibility to share something that could help others.”

Shah said talking about these experiences can also help the speakers themselves.

“Sharing is the first step in reflecting on the events that shape us so we can learn to be more resilient,” she said.

The speakers will also take questions from the audience members to bring groups together in order to find a common solution, and that is what Shah says she values most about Real Talk Student Edition.

“Real Talk is so good at bringing out the strength in our community of students on campus, and I think that message is so important to share,” Shah said. “Our lives never stop throwing obstacles at us, but the more motivated we are to ask for help when we need it and to improve ourselves, the more resilient we can become to adversity.”

Though their main goal is to continue this event to help more students on Mercer’s campus become more vulnerable with themselves and one another, both Shah and Guru said they look forward to a future where students feel comfortable and capable addressing their problems.

They see themselves not only mastering the technique of helping others in person but having also progressed to a more everyday way of helping Mercer students with their problems.

“Currently, we are producing (a) podcast for the event to continue sharing these conversations more frequently. After our event in December, we will be launching the podcast, so be on the lookout for it,” Shah said.