UC Davis undergraduate, 4th year
Major: Environmental Science and Management
This week, I was tasked with the nerve-wracking job of presenting my research and experimental design for the lab group on the effect of brain waves and equine eye contact. While the intentions were casual and conversational, presentations can often hold an inherent worrisome nature. What if I stumble over my words? What do I do if I can’t answer someone’s question? What if I don’t know enough?
After attempt number one of my presentation ending short due to unforeseen technical issues (you’d think after 2+ years of Zoom I’d have it down by now), we took to an in-person presentation that ended up being more of a discussion than a lecture, which I greatly appreciated. I presented on brain waves, various animal-intervention therapy research papers, our research goals in this experiment, and the overall experimental design. I posed many discussion questions regarding improving said experimental design, and we came up with a myriad of ways to do so, atop even more questions to be answered (it never ends in science…)!
So, let’s talk about the presentation. While I wasn’t terrified or dreading it as many do, and honestly kind of excited to share about all the research I’ve been working on, I still felt an innate sense of nervousness of not being enough in some aspect- smart enough, prepared enough, important enough to even be presenting in the first place! I knew the environment was welcoming, forgiving, and supportive, yet the doubt and dread came from my own insecurities, not the presentation or audience themselves. Even if the environment had been significantly more formal, I discovered that I am equipped with the skills to deliver a thorough, thoughtful, and understandable presentation. That was the whole point of this experience in the first place- to hone in on presentational skills and practice them in an environment that is neither intimidating nor judgemental.
It’s important to strive for betterment in all aspects of one’s life, yet there is a balance between self-criticism and desire for self-improvement. While I use my ability for critical thinking as fuel to inspire me forward in academia, I hope to approach many more presentations with a significantly more positive internal voice. If I can use a negative narrative to get me through an assignment in the lab, imagine if I had used a positive one. Therefore, while it’s important to aim high, striking a balance between criticism and encouragement for oneself can produce an even better result in the deliverables at hand. Plus, when presenting on a topic you’re passionate about, that interest seeps through to the audience, and should ultimately be a fun experience; who doesn’t want to talk about things they love? I look forward to even more presentations and assignments here in the lab, and hope to approach them with a kind and loving attitude towards myself.
Green Care Blog
Here you can find blog posts from each Green Care Lab intern. We'll be talking about our research process, the benefits of Green Care therapy, and sharing pictures of our work. Follow along with us!