Day #83: An unexpected gift
I’ll let you in on a secret, I’ve been doing science outreach on a regular basis for the past 3-4 years now. Specifically with Skype a scientist I’ve volunteered every term since it was pretty much first started. My secret, if not horribly kept, is this… I am ALWAYS nervous to give my talk. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it and let me explain why.
Why is it that no matter how many times you do something you can (in some cases) always feel just as nervous as the first time you did it? I wish I could answer that question, but I cannot. This term I gave six different skype a scientist talks. I signed up for 3, but one teacher asked if I could do multiple (for all his classes) and I agreed to do it because I really want to get the practice. We’re told we don’t have to commit like that, but I wanted to, so I did.
This would be a good time to segway into explaining that my laptop is old. I’ve recently invested in a very nice (read expensive) home computer, but my laptop has been with me for roughly 5 years now and it is definitely showing its age. On occasion the mouse will stop working (then start working again after I restart it or push on it just right). The wifi has recently dropping its connection and won’t connect until I disable the hardware or restart the computer. Very recently (as in just the past 2 weeks) I found myself flustered when I tried to open some of the photos I use for my skype talks and nothing would open… while I was GIVING MY TALK!
Yeah, I need a new one, but something, something, no money.
To say I haven’t embarrassed myself would be a rather large lie. However, I keep doing it. For several reasons, the biggest of course that I am trying to get better at speaking and the easiest way to do that is do speaking!
While there has been some bad experiences (my laptop for one, one of my teachers forgetting we had a session for another), overall I really love doing it. At this point you may be wondering why I titled this post the way I did. That is easy, but I think it would be best to show you why.
After my last talk, I found my inbox flooded with emails from the students I had just spoke with. There were roughly 30 emails from students thanking me for my time, asking questions, or just telling me how cool my work was (there were even a few who said to keep going and it will be worth it… OMG too funny).
Thinking they had been forced to do it (well asked very politely I’m sure) I spoke with the instructor and he explained that he gave out my email after my talk, but didn’t tell them that they had to email me. I’ve gotten sporadic emails in the past thanking me or asking follow up questions, but this was surprising. Maybe they felt obligated, but I’m hoping that they were just inspired and wanted to show appreciation. Whatever the case may be, I’m thankful they took the time to let me know that my talk meant something to them. Maybe I will always be nervous when I’m presenting, but in the end it’s worth it.
Until next time, don’t stop learning!