Thursday, May 14, 2015

Final Words on a Final 20.109 Presentation

Hooray! I can't believe 20.109 is finally done. It was definitely one of the most interesting and time-consuming classes of my MIT career so far. From microbiome to DNA repair to virus solar cells, we've really come far. Especially the final lab class where we had our research proposal presentations, I saw so much improvement among my peers as well as myself.

Up until the day of the proposal I was so nervous. My partner and my research proposal was a proof of principle to test whether Antibody-KillerRed conjugates (AKRC) were an effective means for specific cancer therapy. I never realized how much work and research went into coming up with a novel idea (or even to build upon and optimize existing systems). Sometimes, I even worried that idea was too similar or not novel enough. At times like that, I realized the best thing we could do would be to continue scanning through literature to find ways to improve and develop our research ideas.

As well, with journal presentations being all the way back in module 1, I had butterflies in my stomach thinking about giving our presentation. So many details to not forget to include, not to mention the added element of having two presenters and the need to have a balanced pitch. As well, we had to compliment our slides because our styles of presentations were different, there needed to be constant dialogue about ideas. At one point, when we thought we were almost done, I found an error in one of experimental designs (our positive test would not work under our current test conditions) and we frantically sought a replacement to fix the problem. Then finally at 12:40 AM the night before, we put the finishing touches to our assignment, practiced our presentation a few times and rested for the coming day.

Presentation was scary, but I was glad that we went 2nd. I had enough time to calm my nerves without becoming more anxious in waiting. When we got up to present, I felt much different than I had in journal presentations. Although I might have still been nervous, speaking became much easier and when I did get stressed, I took a deep breath and was able to get back on track. In the end, I'm so thankful for all the support that the 20.109 staff and my peers provided. The 20.109 experience has indeed been a rich experience that I feel will have a lasting impact in the rest of my semesters here at MIT.

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