One of the stages of my life that I remember with great emotion, because they were moments of teaching and learning for me, were my moments lived as a university professor in the chair of the research methodology and as a jury in the defense of undergraduate papers to qualify for a university degree. At that time I interacted with many students, both undergraduate and graduate. In the article, I Connect with Real Life. I had told you something about that stage of my life.
One of the characteristics that students presented, in that past time and I could bet that even today, is the high level of anxiety and stress at the time of defending their thesis work, in front of three jurors on the day set by the university for the presentation. I remember that on one occasion a student could not express anything in words and was sweating excessively, totally blocked emotionally and mentally, before a very extreme anxiety she fainted in the middle of the exhibition hall. For obvious reasons, the presentation of her work was suspended. But she asked not to suspend it for another day but to place it after other students defended their work on the same day. And so it was done. She returned to present at the end of the day and before starting she apologized for fainting because of her anxiety. After so much emotional suffering she managed to present a little calmer, ending with the approval of her thesis, but undoubtedly it was a day full of stress and anxiety for her.
Just like that student who fainted, many other students presented pictures of extreme anxiety during those days. They could not avoid going through that moment because their paper was the last requirement demanded by the university to obtain their degrees.
There are many social situations that people suffering from anxiety can avoid. The social phobic shows great anxiety when speaking in public, even when they feel observed and judged by other people as well as when they are in the presence of people of higher authority. The anxiety is provoked by the possibility of being seen by others as insecure or awkward and they show extreme fear of being disapproved by others. The degree of anxiety suffered by some people will depend directly on the degree of importance of the situation that they cannot avoid, in the case of students who present their final work, it is something they cannot let pass and hence their level of anxiety and panic.
In daily situations, people who present social phobia picture regularly have an inhibited verbal communication style, their body language makes them be quickly detected by a specialist in human behavior, since they are regular people who dodge the look, their hands sweat a lot and they have them cold, they blush when a person in authority addresses them, their behavior, in general, is passive, their tone of voice is low and sometimes they stutter. Other people show little social interest towards them because of this type of behavior, generating a feeling of disapproval in them, increasing the level of anxiety and insecurity.
Now after remembering this time with students I think that nowadays with so much technology available and in a world where everything changes rapidly, where the real world is mixed with the virtual world, I think that universities should incorporate something like an "academic metaverse". Writing this content I think of this option as available to reproduce the dynamics of presentation of degree works by students with high levels of anxiety. That this digital revolution is not only used for games or for moments of leisure, but that it is used to treat people with high levels of anxiety that do not allow them to develop normally in real life.
I imagine the three professors acting as thesis jurors and the student with Oculus virtual glasses, where the virtual world would be an ideal scenario for the person who is afraid of public speaking, where all the situations feared by the student that provoke anxiety or panic attacks are controlled in a virtual world. It would be a controlled exposure for students to overcome their emotional states of anxiety and panic. The academic metaverse allows students to make their presentations in virtual world platforms... Not only in universities, it would also be a virtual world in a job interview, in presentations at national or international conferences, and in any other situation that generates anxiety and panic in people... Already in developed countries and in the midst of pandemic circumstances is a resource currently used, but in my country that option is not yet foreseen for a long time, but imagine it does not cost me anything and this virtual world seen in this way for me would be great.
The metaverse is a virtual reality that we have in our present and this would be a healthy way to take advantage of technologies to create an environment of controlled exposure for people who have difficulty with social interaction...
Now to conclude, by way of self-evaluation, reflect on the following questions:
Do you have an important meeting coming up in the next few days and have been unable to get a good night's sleep?
When you think about that important meeting in front of people in authority, do your palms sweat?, do you feel palpitations and fear of speaking in public?... let me tell you that you may be one of many people who suffer from social anxiety.
Thank you for going all the way to the end, I would love to read your comment.
I raise this great possibility in a very near future: in a hyperconnected world, I imagine all of you and me of course; with virtual glasses like Oculus, where everyone on the read.cash platform will be avatars interacting, where we would all be, my followers and sponsors, exchanging content on different topics, especially on cryptocurrencies and bitcoins, and to tell you among many other things that you are the best.
Picture from; unsplash.com
Public speaking in particular can be a very nerve-wracking experience and it is understandable why many people suffer anxiety when they have to stand up in front of people to speak. It does not help that they are so used to virtual interaction more than personal interaction. Your idea would be helpful, although younger people should still take the effort and be trained to speak before others in person. You never know when you might need to do it and having even just a little experience would be helpful.