May 4th, 2005



Well. I did it. I made my entry into the scientific world, by presenting a paper at a conference.

It went well, actually. I was quite thoroughly terrified, and I think justified in my terror... but years of theatre and dance and performing and talking in front of groups in general have helped me to at least convey confidence, even if I don't feel it.

It also helps that the podium hid the fact that my right leg was shaking through most of my talk.

I noticed something really interesting... my mentor spoke right before me, on a similar subject, which meant that the moderator opened the floor to questions on both talks... while many mentors would have taken this opportunity to jump in and answer on behalf of their student, mine didnt'. She trusted me to know my experiment and know the background and be able to think on my feet and answer the questions. There was one question on which I was completely lost, so I provided a related answer, which L (my mentor) elaborated on, as the questioner, not satisfied with my answer (and rightly so, I'll grant) redirected his question to her. But ultimately, I handled the questions reasonably well. And it makes me feel really good about myself to know that my mentor had the confidence in me to let me stand for myself. I am still a student and have a great deal to learn... but I'm also becoming a colleague, in a real sense, and that is everything.

And tomorrow, I can relax and enjoy the beach!