Monday, May 26, 2008

Sweaty Palms

As much as I am/was frustrated with my MSc thesis adviser, there are a few things that I appreciate about him. He always read and returned my thesis proposals, committee meeting summaries, conference abstracts, scholarship apps, thesis etc, before the deadline . We would sometimes be emailing copies back and forth every hour, till 12 midnight. In the end, I always knew my submissions were rock solid. I miss that with new adviser. Also, I was rarely stressed about presentations. Actually, that is not true, I was always always stressed about presentations. My PI would make me present everyday the week before, criticizing all the time, asking me different questions every time, which I would never know the answer too. I would leave those dry runs freaking out with a list of 20 papers to read (which I sometimes did), finding the answers to those damn impossible questions. I hated practicing with him. Funny thing, now that I have my first talk as a PhD student on wednesday and my current PI is awol due to the birth of his baby, I am freaking out because I have not been put through the winger so I don't feel ready! Strange I know, but my presentations were never as bad as the dry runs, and everyone used to say how amazing my talks were. I was so good because my PI forced me to be on the top of my game AND how to think about what others would find interesting, not just the questions I would ask. I miss that. I think he could've prepared me without telling me I had only one neuron, but right now I would prefer his horrible negativity to the silence I am getting.

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I am diligently responding to comments from NaComLeaveMo. I will be a bad NaComLeavMo participant until after said talk on wednesday. I will post an outcome of the talk and then make up from my lack of commenting on new blogs.

8 comments:

Echloe said...

Fellow scientist here. Found you via NaComLeavMo.

Anyway, if your advisor isn't giving you the prep you need you could try doing a practice talk with other grad students and postdocs in your department. That is how they do it my institution.

Good luck with your upcoming talk!

Erin said...

Another scientist here (well, Ph.D. scientist now teaching exclusively) from NaComLeavMo. Echloe's suggestion is really good, and may I say how jealous I am that your MSc advisor was so good at getting things back to you? I turned in the first 100+ pages of my dissertation to my advisor and, a month later when I finally pressed him about his editing, he admitted that he'd only read the first 10 pages. It was awful. I'm glad to hear that there are some good ones out there!

Melanie said...

I agree with Echloe! Round up other students, or maybe other PIs or your committee members? The students in 'my' old lab used to do that all the time. Either that, or just practice, practice, practice on your own. Not as effective, but at least you can rest assured knowing that you benefited from your previous PI's torture ... er ... training. You'll do fine I'm sure! Good luck!

sara said...

Over from NCLM. Wanted to wish you the best of luck on your presentation talk on Wednesday. You brave woman you! The thought of me talking in front of people makes me shudder and want to pee my pants! hehe. Good luck though, it sounds like you will do well :-)

littleangelkisses said...

Good luck on the presentation! I ditto echloe's suggestion!

Nicky said...

I'm here from NaComLeavMo, and I'm also a PhD student (in computer science), and I'm pregnant with my first child, due in September. I'll definitely be coming back to visit your blog.

I agree with the previous comments: fellow grad students are great practice audiences. And when I gave my thesis proposal to my advisor, I found it weeks later on the seat of his car, covered in crumbs, open to page 3. I pointed to it and said "Glad you're enjoying the proposal!", at which point he grabbed it, mumbled something, and tossed it in his trunk. As if that's better.

Melanie said...

Thinking of you and your talk today! Hope it goes great -- I'm sure it will. Be confident in your abilities, and in the solid training your former PI gave you.

Eliza said...

NaComLeavMo participant who is NOT a scientist here--more of an artsy, drain-on-society type. Good luck with the talk!