So… this a little bit embarrassing for me, but I was on a radio show earlier this week.
You might be reading this saying “Oh man, this girl is totally a show off… bragging about broadcasting and such on blog posts.”
Well, but this post isn’t about me bragging. It’s more of the opposite I must say – a bit of lessons learned, rather than ‘Oh man, I rock’.
Here is the thing. Last summer, I had another broadcasting event, which was actually my very first broadcasting experience. I will save you all the details of how it went and the long story leading to the event, but simply put it this way: I was super nervous that… every time I opened my mouth to say something, to answer questions from the host, my mind went blank and I started talking super fast. Given that it was my very first time, I think it didn’t go that badly. But back then, I thought it went so terribly that I wanted to change my name so that other people won’t recognize me from the show.
So, given that experience from last summer, I figured out why I my mind went blank during the show. I think I was being super conscious of myself that I didn’t know what to do. But the point of being on a show is to inform and entertain the audience, which was the point that was being overcast by my super conscious self – do I look ok, do I sound like someone who knows her stuff, am I talking ok? etc.
This time, I decided that I will keep the audience and the purpose of the show in mind, so that I won’t be so nervous.
But the day of any big presentation (MECH 598/698??) usually gets hijacked by terror and nervousness that does not end until the presentation/show/talk or whatever is over. This time wasn’t an exception. I had been in my thesis project mode for so long – i.e., debugging my code, other people’s code, stitching them together – that all I could think about was the robot I’ve been working with, and the super specific code issues I am having (e.g., my c++ code called gesture_engine.cpp is receiving wrong quintic coefficient values from its server codes I think, I should fix it soon). That also meant my lack of staying in touch with the rest of the world. I was worried.
I felt like I should know the worldly issues, even in my busiest times. I felt that there was a good chance that someone was going to ask me questions about happenings in Libia and somehow ask me to comment on that in conjunction with something about robots and my project. But as the time drew near, and I walked over to the broadcasting station, I knew that there was nothing I could do to review all of today’s worldly issues and happenings in my field. If they ask me stuff that I don’t know, then so be it. I am only a master’s student.
So, the first half and hour of the show was a bit unnerving. I could not believe that they actually asked me to be on the show for the whole hour. The clock just seemed to be stopped and not ticking away the way it should. I hadn’t really figured out the pace of my voice, the clarity of my sentences, and attitudes of my tone. I was just nervous.
But as the show went on, I reminded myself of that key thing that was supposed to help me: “I am not as important as I think I am. I am here for the audience, and to convey information to the audience.”
And there it was. An hour gone. And it was an hour of a very good experience.
At the end of the show, I didn’t feel too badly about how I did (until I listened to the recording of the show, and wanted to hide in a corner somewhere). I felt kind of comfortable about the idea of being on a radio show, and felt great that I got to talk about my thesis project on the show – although I am not sure if anything I said made any sense. Anyway, I was super glad to have been given the opportunity to participate on a show, and felt that more of us engineering grad students should be given these chances because I don’t think we talk about them in the context of large lay audience very much. It’s all about conveying information to the audience, presenting yourself as an expert and actually succeeding at it is secondary.
Maybe next time, I will do better. 🙂