Monday, March 28, 2016

Conquering Stage Fright

I’ve always thought giving presentations was fun. Not the “hanging out with friends” kind of fun, but the “sleep deprivation from doing psets” kind of fun. This journal club was particularly difficult. I never presented to a room full of girls before. Thanks registrar. Honestly it wasn’t too bad, I’ve given a ton of presentations in the past. I have my high school science teacher to thank for that. She may look innocent, but that little old Japanese woman is hardcore to the bone. She was the Miyagi to my Daniel, the Frodo to my Gandalf or whatever, I never saw that movie.

The first time she ever made me present scientific research was in front of a panel of speech teachers. These guys must’ve been intense, the girl before me literally, not figuratively, burst out of the room crying. I still have no idea what they said to her. I made it out alive that day, the only comment I received was that I looked “stoic.” I wonder why.

            My scariest moment was when I was presenting a journal club article written by my supervisor. Someone asked a question and apparently the answer I gave wasn’t adequate. My supervisor stood up in the crowd, said, “That’s wrong!” and proceeded to explain why I was incorrect. The paper dealt with some entropy-based HTS screen to quantify tumor cell heterogeneity. I still had yet to figure out where to put soap in the laundry machine. It’s as if the deer in headlights got hit by another car sneaking up on it from behind.

            Turns out, nobody expects you to know everything. There’s no shame in being wrong. What really matters is how effectively you convey your work and findings. I might not always be confident in my ability to “science,” but I’m confident that I can tell a story. No vicious accusations or nervous breakdowns. I’d say mission accomplished.

Fig 1. Vicious Accusations. (please don't sue)

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