Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Presentations – Let’s try this again (109 Magic)

I was sitting in the tiny conference room thinking about how sleep deprived I was and how I couldn’t wait to get this presentation over with so I can go home and collapse on my bed and sleep for 17 hours straight. I kept trying to glance at my slide notes in an effort to ensure that I didn’t forget to say anything when I got up to present… but I couldn’t focus on them, so I gave up. Plus I was intrigued to see how people’s projects had evolved since we had last talked about them in class. Under all of the fatigue, I was excited for all the cool science we would get to hear about. The first group got up to present and their title said they were going to talk about TB. Cool… I don’t know anything about TB. Alright, they’re about to start.

As soon as they started talking, my mouth dropped open. Bro, everything in their presentation, from their diagrams and slides and animations to the clarity of their voice were ON POINT. If I were a funding agency, I would give them funding just to go and present on behalf of all other scientists. I wonder if all the other groups have perfected their presentation skills as much.

One after the other, all the pairs went up and presented. I was just sitting there thinking how everyone could have improved so much in such a short amount of time. Oral presentations weren’t even that big of a focus in 109.

The curious thing was that I had walked out of our journal club presentations thinking that people in my section were unusually good presenters. There wasn’t a presentation where I felt like I couldn’t follow what was happening, even though I hadn’t read any of the papers they were talking about.  So to see Presentations 2.0 be so much better than the first set of presentations, I was really surprised and very impressed.

Having been in 109 for a full semester now, I feel the need to find an explanation for everything I observe. Can it possibly be the awkwardness that everyone endured when we had to watch ourselves present? Or is it the fact that we’re all more comfortable with each other now. I can’t really come to a conclusion as to what exactly led to everyone’s awesome proposal presentations, so I have decided to channel my inner budding scientist and attribute this outcome to an unknown phenomenon I will dub “109 Magic.”

I think “109 Magic” is the underlying factor responsible for many other effects we observe in the typical 109 student including but not limited to: better report writing, better science analysis skills, better statistics capabilities, better scientific literature research abilities, awesome collaboration skills and in the case of the T/R section student, better snack selection intuition.

Further research needs to go into this phenomenon in order to determine how “109 Magic” affects students with different interests within biological engineering and if “109 Magic” can be applied to other courses than 20.

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