My Days with Gavel…

2021 was supposed to be the start of many dreams and goals for everyone out there. We thought we would have a bit of hope to start working on the plans we always wanted to execute or at least to resume our lives from where it was paused in 2020. I initially thought that my 2021 would be exciting and would be filled with so many new experiences as it was supposed to be my first year at university. Since I was schooling I heard hundreds of outrageous university stories and what university life is like. I was quite certain that this year I would be able to have my very own university experience like meeting different kinds of people, making new friends, taking spontaneous decisions, and being a part of clubs and activities within the university while working on my degree of course. Unfortunately Covid 19 had other plans prescheduled for me and I’m pretty sure it was like that for everyone.

After waiting too long for university to start, we finally got the orientation dates.Even though I was glad about this, I won’t say I was all excited, and that’s probably because due to the pandemic situation they held the orientation virtually. Calling myself unfortunate and with much indifference I joined the online orientation. Given that I’m the opposite of a studious person, the presentations of clubs and societies quickly grabbed my attention.I was paying so much attention to the presentation given by Gavel Club, the akkis and ayyas were so friendly, welcoming and confident. Deep down inside I knew I was avoiding public speaking because of a horrible experience I faced. Seeing how confident they were I wanted to renew the memories I had about talking in front of a crowd.

The horrible experience I went through back in 2017 made me uncomfortable speaking to large crowds where I thought I could never speak publicly. It all started when we organized an event for a school club and I was appointed to give the thanking speech by the end of the event. The thanking speech was scheduled for the evening, and I had the speech ready written on a piece of paper folded in my pocket. The event went on since morning and by noon we were offered a chilled apple soda, being the sweet tooth I am, I couldn’t stop from one drink.Without giving much thought to the consequences I ended up drinking down close to 20 cups. That is when I knew I started to have a cold, runny nose where I kept on sneezing and coughing and all of this because of apple soda. The time finally came when I was supposed to give my speech and I walked up to the stage sneezing and coughing. The speech started as “Good morning cough ladies and gentlemen cough. I would like to sneeze “thank…”and this went on for 10 minutes till the end of my speech. The coughs and sneezing made me forget the words and buried me into reading right out from the paper and not looking at the crowd. By the end of the speech, I looked up at the crowd where I saw close to 150 people staring at me scared and worried. I embarrassingly walked down the stage with a light clap from the crowd. Since that day I was always scared to speak in front of large crowds where I always have tended to back down or not take part.

The presentation given by akkis and ayyas during the orientation made me think that it’s high time for me to step out of my comfort zone and try public speaking once again. I joined the club and got to know there are weekly meetings on Saturdays. It was finally Saturday and by then I’d completely forgotten about the Gavel meeting or my need to be a better public speaker. I was having my usual Saturday nap and woke up at around 4.30 in the evening. First things first I took my phone to scroll through social media and the first thing I saw was the invitation for the Gavel meeting happening at 5:00 pm.Still being all sleepy and drowsy I thought to myself, Not Today. But after much hesitation I finally joined the meeting.

Upon joining I was really nervous as there were no familiar faces, but the welcoming and friendly atmosphere made me feel comfortable.

The meeting commenced and a few roles were introduced as the toastmaster, table topic master, round-robin master, ah counter, grammarian, timer and table topic evaluator. Curiously waiting on what would happen, we were split to breakout rooms where we had to give a small speech on a topic for 20 seconds. To my surprise the first round-robin speech I did went well.I felt confident about my speaking after 4 years and I managed to do a great round-robin speech.

After the round robin session the table topic sessions started and gaveliers volunteered and gave speeches to the entire audience. The topics were given right before the speech where the speaker should do a speech between 2 and 3 minutes. The confidence I had from my speech at the round-robin session made me want to try on a table topic speech right on my first day. The speech went on really great, and I felt very confident in my speech after the speech even though I felt like there were a few flaws in my speech. By the end of the table topic session, I got to know the time of my speech from the timer, number of filler words my speech had from the ah counter, grammar errors from the grammarian and finally I got a detailed evaluation on my speech from the table topic evaluator. My speech’s evaluation was done by Gv. Muthunu ayya where he explained how my speech was and parts where I should improve. He encouraged me to do more speeches and made me feel confident about the speech I did. He gave me a detailed report of my speech as well. This experience made a big change on the fear I had on public speaking since 2017 and made me want to keep on trying to be better.

Few weeks later I managed to take up the round-robin master role where I confidently handled my breakout room through the entire session. Later I kept on trying different roles where I managed to take part in the roles confidently while fixing my mistakes and kept growing on my public speaking skills. The friends I made through Gavel have already taken an immense part in my life even in a short time period. The casual sessions after the meetings and the games we play during those sessions always keep our heads away from the busy university lifestyle.

Looking back I realized how that small decision I took during the orientation made my university life way better than I ever imagined. I overcame my fear of public speaking and most importantly I met an amazing bunch of people that I adore. It’s really amazing how the Gavel Club managed to brighten up my university life, despite the pandemic situation. I would always look forward to the weekly gavel meeting as it encourages me to be a better person each day and also helps me to unwind myself and get away from the unremitting routine. Now it’s 2022 and I can surely say Gavel Club is one of the reasons that 2021 was adventurous to me.


  1. Panchanie Karunaratne

    You’ve come a long way Dehan mallii?? Way to go?

  2. It’s a good place for everything full of knowledge and joy..I hope and wish we could attend Gavel club meetings and events physically soon.l love to fluent in English ..

  3. Dehan De Silva

    Thank you akki. Means alot <3

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *