"Every planet has its own weird customs. About a year before we met, I spent six weeks on a moon where the principal form of recreation was juggling geese. My hand to God. Baby geese - goslings! They were juggled."

Monday, April 12, 2010

The night before the defense

Tomorrow I defend my master's thesis in geology. Now that the day is really finally here (it's actually 12:30 a.m. so TODAY is the day!), I sort of wish I had been able to prepare further in advance. I'm a neurotic speaker. I tweak and poke at my presentation until the very last second, and tend to write up what I want to say - and if I can't get those words right, I get thrown off.

This is exactly the case, now. My thoughts are sort of finally coming together just now after repeating the entire presentation to myself all day. Memorization has never been a strong point. Like the dates of Santiaguito - it began extruding in 1922 with Caliente. Activity shifted 700 m west to La Mitad in 1939 (took me forever to erase '1938' from my mind and replace it with '1939'). Activity shifted again in 1949 to El Monje, and once more to El Brujo in 1958. Caliente began erupting concurrently with El Brujo in 1968, and El Brujo ceased activity in 1977... Caliente has been erupting ever since. And extrusion rates! Extrusion rates of 0.6-2.1 m^3 s-1 are 'high' and last for 3-5 years at Santiaguito... 'low' extrusion rates of 0.2 m^3 s-1 last from 10-12 years.

And THEN I've got to remember all the calculations and numeric results of my project.

It's odd, but I haven't felt any anxiety about this presentation until just a couple hours ago. I used to love giving presentations in my undergrad, but things were different in grad school. I lost my confidence and feel I'm only just now building it back up again. If only I could just remember the whole speech I wrote out for this, despite my aversion towards prefabricated talks.

Half the car is packed and ready to go. If I don't pass, the trip to Alaska is going to be a pretty depressing couple of weeks. I can't think about not passing though, it can't be an option.

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