Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Yesterday, I gave my LAST STUDENT TALK EVER. That's right, you heard me. E-V-E-R. (On the internet, that's the equivalent of screaming loud enough to be heard in Kansas.)

This student talk thing is an annual requirement in my department. It's actually not that big a deal, although it's gotten me tied in knots once in a while. Once a month, usually on the first Monday, usually at lunch, two students give 25 minute talks about their research. The entire department is supposed to attend, and since bribery is the only way to get even a fraction of those people, lunch is served. (It's stuffed pizza. Always.)

Once a student has passed their qualifying exams, they have to give a talk annually. I have now given four: one from each lab. That's getting pretty old, I have to say. I think I will be the only student ever to graduate without giving 2 talks from the same lab. I'll have to check.

My talk was originally scheduled to take place in June, and it was cancelled. I didn't find out about the cancellation until about 40 minutes before the talk, and I was less than amused. It's all for the best though, because I didn't have to do too much preparation for this talk - just update the data slides, since I have actually accomplished something in the last few months.

There are a couple of small "unfortunately"s: unfortunately, I managed to get my computer into "practice mode" so instead of showing the slide as intended, it projected the slide, the next slide, a clock including seconds, and a running timer of the talk's duration. On the bright side, that allowed everyone to appreciate how exactly correct my timing was, in contrast to the other student who spoke. Also, neither my advisor, nor his wife, nor most of my thesis committee were able to attend. On the bright side, that meant that no one asked me hard questions, so yay.

All in all, it went well. I looked pretty, I spoke confidently (if maybe a bit too quickly), I answered all the questions asked, and I don't think anyone's in doubt that I'm back on track. I'm glad of that, and I think many other people are too. And, as of yesterday, I am 10 months away from graduating. Now that's progress.

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