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Thursday September 25, 2003

Licking my wounds

My ass has officially been kicked.

Today was preparation day for the upcoming conference in which my lab group will be presenting research in a poster session with a room full of lifelong nerds. It's the Pavlovian Soviety conference, named in honor of good ol' Pavlov. Gotta love Pavlov. Anyway, I've been feverishly preparing for this thing... reading articles, reading more articles, reading the same articles again. I have a stack of notecards I made to help me study, and I almost memorized the damn poster word for word.

Yeah, none of that actually helped me today.

In a practice run, the big kahuna had me stand in front of our 4' x 8' poster and answer questions from a faculty member who stopped by to partake in the bloodshed. I stuttered, mumbled, and failed to answer anything that mattered. All of the crap I studied left my brain as soon as I was dragged to the front of the room. Why did I blank on damn near everything? Why couldn't I explain even the most ridiculously simple ideas?

The professor kept firing shots for what seemed like hours, and I did little more than make a complete ass of myself in front of everyone I work with. I felt like the fat girl in dodge ball again... such a deliciously easy target. It's so frustrating, because I know I'm not stupid, but I sure did sound that way. Dammit.

I've never really had a problem explaining my own research, honestly. But this is not my research, and I'm just not comfortable with talking about it. I didn't conceptualize it. I didn't do the research in preparation for it. I didn't design the experiment. I didn't run the analyses. I didn't write the manuscript. I didn't create the poster. This is not mine. I have no business presenting it, and there is no reason for my name to be listed alongside the author. I just know so little, so damn little, and knowing this makes me blank on the little that I have down.

The practice session was a huge red flag --one that made it pretty clear that, in addition to being unprepared for the conference, I may not be cut out for this. It's third grade gym class all over again. Fifteen years have passed since then, yet I'm still just the same little fat girl.

What do I do now?


Drina, that's what practice runs are for... so you can find out what you need to do in order to prepare for the real thing. Everything gets easier in time, even standing in front of a poster you didn't create... I hope you don't give up because there will be so many more times in the future when things go better because you had this first practice run that didn't go so well

Shan on September 25, 2003 11:09 PM

oh hun, I have faith in you and I know that you will survive this conference, even if you come away with a few bruises!!!

Your old roomie on September 25, 2003 11:13 PM

aw, don't worry Drina I'm sure you'll do just fine. As Shan said, thats what practice runs are for. Good luck with the conference.

(by the way, I tried emailing you but it wouldn't go, I've gotten my site up but some of the content isn't up yet.)

xee on September 27, 2003 11:14 AM