With about a month of classes behind me, I feel like I have finally gotten into the swing of things at MSPP. My courses are going really well and my practicum site has been so informative and exciting. Last week, however, I encountered a challenge of graduate school that I had been worrying about for some time. I gave my first in-class presentation.
I have always been made rather nervous by public speaking, but for some reason the prospect of doing so in the arena of graduate school struck me as particularly overwhelming. I was expected to present for 30 minutes on the topic of ‘temperament’ for my Lifespan Psychology class, and include talking points for a class discussion, and the citation of a number of relatively current articles on the topic. As nervous as I was, I prepared for my presentation as I had in presentations past, but was fortunately scaffolded by the support of the teaching assistant (TA) in the course. With a heavy interest in mindfullness, my TA maintained concern with my anxiety level throughout my preparation and throughout the presentation itself. He provided me with techniques that might aid in presenting as I was preparing, and following my presentation, he gave me feedback and insight that allowed me to reflect on and really alter my approach to presenting in front of groups. This week, I recently presented on a smaller scale, and using the techniques provided to me by the TA, found myself (though still a work in progress) much more at ease than before.
I feel like this experience is representative of many situations that I have found myself at MSPP. I have found professors and staff members have truly been concerned with not only coursework, but with the entire wellbeing of the student. I have been told many times by many professors that if anxiety regarding any element or expectation of the class becomes too high or distracting, we should immediately bring it to their attention in order to maintain a positive, comfortable, and supportive learning environment.