This probably isn’t a big deal to very many people, but I was really pleased and excited with myself earlier this week. (For being self-satisfied, I have been rewarded with a head cold at a particularly bad time. Oh well. I will beat it into submission with Robitussin and massive doses of vitamin C.)
Anyway, Tuesday evening was a big marker in the semester for me. It was the kickoff for a workshop series I helped to organize at school on emerging technologies, co-sponsored by the Tech Lab and ASIS&T@Simmons. I originally conceived Tuesday’s workshop as a companion to a lecture I organized the week before (“Blogs & RSS in Libraries“), and the idea for the larger series grew out of a meeting with one of the Tech Lab directors. So, I have been thinking about this first workshop, “Setting Up an RSS Aggregator,” since quite early in the semester. It is my baby. It was also the first time that I can recall, since the fall of ’98, when I have given any sort of presentation or done any public speaking. (For some reason being a BU tour guide falls into a totally separate category than giving presentations, though it is essentially doing just that while walking backwards and trying to avoid the myriad obstacles on Comm. Ave.) In the past, I’ve been ridiculously nervous — massive butterflies, and I felt like my voice and hands were shaking. People would tell me that I did just fine, that none of that was visible to them, but that only goes so far.
Imagine my surprise and delight on Tuesday when I really wasn’t at all nervous! (I was more nervous earlier in the day before a routine checkup with my doctor, who I love.) I was a tiny bit nervous right before I started, but it was barely noticeable to me, and quickly dissipated. Overall the workshop went well, though I have a few little things to change and address before the next one (just procedural stuff). The people who attended seemed into it and pleased at the end, and in fact today I got an e-mail from one of the attendees with a follow up question and a big thanks! How great is that? And if all that’s not enough, here’s the thing that really surprised me — I liked doing it!
This is a really great feeling for me and a big accomplishment. One of my goals while in library school was to get a lot of good, practical experience so I’ll be a competitive applicant when I’m looking for jobs. A sub-goal of that, which I decided to start working on this semester, was to get comfortable with doing presentations and workshops. Check! I’m looking forward to the repeat of the RSS workshop next week, and to the others I’m involved in later in the semseter — social bookmarking & tagging and one on how to do research before buying a new gadget.
Some people at school asked me, after the workshop, how it went. When I told them that I was really happy that it went well because I had always hated giving presentations, all of them seemed surprised to hear that I was as worried about this workshop thing as I was, and that I didn’t really have any experience doing this sort of thing. I didn’t talk about the issue with people before the workshop — out of sight, out of mind, right? Their surprise at hearing that is, to me, a nice indicator that I might already be much closer to being the kind of person that I’m really striving to be. Aww. How very after-school-special of me.