Friday, May 13, 2016

This Time Around, Presenting Actually Wasn’t That Bad

So the Journal Club presentation I gave soon after spring break did not go very well for me. It kind of felt like this if I were to dramatize my experience during the presentation:

Almost as soon as I stood in front of the class, all that I had wanted to say just went out the window. I didn’t even press the right button on the controller to switch in between slides appropriately (in fact I was the only one who was nervous enough to do that the day that I presented). I also took a few years to get through the slides as if there were no time limit, and then gave the longest –winded answers possible to the questions I was asked. In retrospect, my embarrassing and disastrous performance was not unexpected. My difficulties managing my time after spring break, especially during the week of the presentation when I had a bunch of other assignments and exams to complete, was what really set me up for disaster. In addition, It is not a great sign when the slides that you intend to present to the class are not ready a few hours prior to the presentation…..

Although I was scared out of my pants as I saw how unprepared I was while the hours before my presentation continued to wane, I would also like to share an illusion I briefly fooled myself with that same night. “If I just create these slides and think about what I would tell the class as I made them, my presentation could potentially come out fine right? I don’t know need to actually practice speaking out loud that much right?”

I actually felt that the professors graded me much more generously than I deserved. However, that was definitely not one of the moments that I would choose to relive anytime soon. I never wanted to get myself into this situation, but I was not proactive enough to deal with the conflicting workload that week. On the bright side, I was glad to have a second opportunity to present in front of the class recently. This time I presented a biofuel research proposal with my lab partner. Not only did I make sure that my partner and I had enough time to put together our ideas and power point slides for this presentation, but I made sure to consider and practice several times what I actually wanted to say to the class.

As I have emphasized before, please start preparing your presentations EARRRLY! Do not underestimate the amount of time that is needed to speak in front of your class even for just a few minutes. Bribe your friends if necessary, but you should really try to present beforehand to someone who is unfamiliar with your project. The practice will pay off. Although things didn’t go perfectly the second time and even more practice would have been nice, after crashing and burning a few weeks ago I am happy to be a living testimony of what I am preaching.

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