So I am attending a polytechnic(Tech school), getting a Bachelor's degree in Information Technology, I am wondering if I am expected to do presentations/speeches and if so, am I able to somehow not do them but still earn my degree.

I am diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder(On my medical records it says I have Extreme Anxiety) so in my bias opinion this is beyond the " Fear " aspect and is mentally scarring. While attending middle school/High School I failed and outright skipped 99% of the presentations I had to do so I sort of digged myself a grave in terms of experience and preparing for this.

Side note, I remember in middle school I told my teacher about my distress towards having to do a history presentation, and although she made me do it(And I failed), she let me practice infront of her and another student instead of the whole class, which helped a little.

  • 2
    Does your school have accommodations for people with disabilities? Seems like with your diagnosis it might be worth checking out. – Kathy Apr 9 '19 at 21:09
  • When you think about it, public speaking is identical to private speaking except there happens to be a bunch of people somewhere nearby looking at you. Seems like it should be solvable with the right therapeutic technique. – A Simple Algorithm Apr 9 '19 at 21:11
  • mostlymaths.net/2011/05/… – henning May 10 '19 at 21:15

I don't know anything about your specific condition, but for some things that seem similar there is a possible solution.

It may not be possible to overcome the actual fear of speaking, but it may be possible, with practice, to overcome the appearance of fear, so that you can actually be effective in spite of it.

Unfortunately most careers, even those that are quite technical, require some interactions with people that may be very stressful. Autism is a different condition in which people don't pick up the cues that others do, making them awkward in public situations. Fear isn't the issue for them, but the solution is similar - or can be.

The trick is to learn to "play a role" when you are forced to speak in public so that it is your "character" standing in front of those people, not you. You deliver the lines as if you are Romeo on the stage, simply separating yourself from your role. In fact, one way to learn to do this is to join a local theatre group and take a role in a locally produced play.

But one iteration isn't going to make much difference. Your experience with the prof who let you give a more private presentation is a start, but from there it is possible to branch out to put yourself in other situations so that they become more familiar and you learn to quickly turn on your "speaking role" that you hide behind.

Not easy, but others have done it. Most people can do hard things if they want it badly enough and find a path to the goal, even if it is difficult.

It is even possible that with enough practice, in safe environments especially, you can learn to overcome the actual fear.

It would be wise, of course, to check this advice with your advisor/physician.


The general answer is that, in most degree programs, you are likely to encounter the need to do a presentation at least a few times. Some of these may be expected, like when you do an undergraduate / honours thesis and are asked to present it at the end of the project duration, and sometimes it may come out of the blue. For instance, quite a few courses in our program have presentation elements, even if the courses themselves are not in any direct way related to presentation technique. In a nutshell, being able to give short presentations is often seen as a general tool that can come up in virtually any academic context, similar to writing academic essays.

If you are indeed unable to overcome your fear, you need to get in touch with whatever office handles special needs students in your university. They may require additional documentation, and the entire process may potentially be somewhat of an annoyance, but if your condition is medically diagnosed you typically have a right to an examination procedure that replaces all assessments that you cannot partake in with a suitable alternative. For instance, you may be asked to report on projects in a one-on-one session with the teacher rather than presenting project results in class, videotape your demonstration, or write a report rather than presenting.

However, of course, your life would be significantly easier if you could overcome this fear, because realistically it will remain a constant problem that will continue to haunt you for the rest of your professional career in many jobs - and unfortunately industry will oftentimes be less forgiving on your inability to use this basic tool.

  • “Industry will oftentimes be less forgiving” Not if they have a competent HR department. Laws like the ADA dictate otherwise. Of course, first you need to get the job, which would likely require a job interview... – nick012000 Oct 7 '19 at 22:49

Your college should have something called LAP which you are eligible for with your diagnosis. Usually this will allow for testing accommodations, extra time to complete tests ect. I will say this, I too have your diagnosis, and I too am not a fan of presentations however, if I want to complete my degree they are necessary. Getting more time to do something is not the same as getting out of. In your field, you will likely have to do presentations, so I would suggest finding a way to work through this rather than avoiding it. It really isn't as scaring as you think it may be in the long run, it will help prepare you for actual work experience. My brother in law has your degree, he in fact has to run meetings. Go to your colleges LAP, see what they can do. Good luck.


While studying for bachelors in Information communication technologies in UK I had to do project presentation once in my first year. And presentation for my dissertation in my third year. That was it. Both times it sounded lore scary that it actually was. I used to hate public speaking but something changed and I don't mind it any more. I doubt you will need to do many of them.

Of you feel that public speaking is letting your grades down is there no department you could speak to about this to make some exceptions for you? Especially if you have doctors note saying you been diagnosed with particular illness. There should be an possibility for you to make suitable changes in order for you to achieve best you can.

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