Proposal Defense

Yesterday, I hit another major milestone in my graduate school career. Today I defended my proposed research for the remainder of my time here. There are three such landmark moments to reach before attaining a PhD: the comprehensive/qualifying exams, the dissertation proposal defense, and the dissertation defense. All of these things involve the one thing I hate doing above most other activities: talking in front of people.

With a mild form of dysnomia, I’m not comfortable talking in general, especially not in instances where I’m supposed to be able to persuasively answer questions. So, the idea of defending my existence as a scientist and as a professional is typically met with much dread and resistance.

However, I’ve been getting a lot of practice by going to science conferences, where I have to present my research to rooms filled with people doing this for much longer than me. The max so far has been >250 people. More importantly I have to interact on a one-on-one basis with others in my field. Going to 2-4 of these per year for the last 5 years, I’ve come to the point where I actually enjoy the experience overall. Without attending them, I would not have the leads for jobs after graduation that I do now. (Not so subtle hint: attending confrences/conventions/other meetings in your field is important to your career.)

I’m an introvert by nature anyway, so my discomfort with verbal communication only accentuates my difficulty with making connections with people. I do make a concerted effort to build my confidence in expressing myself. Thus I often force myself into more social interactions and writing more often, as form of mental exercise. I can honestly say that I’m almost as proud of myself for the confidence I had going into it yesterday as I am for passing.

~ by caseyseda on February 9, 2011.

2 Responses to “Proposal Defense”

  1. […] career, which signifies only one last leg of the journey left. More on that can be found in my previous blog post. Also, Port Iris Magazine received it’s first donation last week. Every little bit helps. […]

  2. […] got 2 good pieces of news: First, when he successfully defended the research for his dissertation, thereby putting him just one (admittedly large) step away from completing Grad School; and second, […]

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