succumbing to peer pressure

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Bragging Rights

Ok, it's conceited and inappropriate, but I just don't care, because if I don't write this down I'll burst - one of our tenured graduate faculty, the guy who taught my last theory class (in which I got a B) just caught me in the hall to say that my presentation last week was "the best student proposal I've ever seen"!!!!!

Ok, in addition to this being, just, whoa, fantastic and flattering, it's also incredibly gratifying, because I really felt like I was gambling with the approach I took to my presentation. This is what I was sort of talking around in my academia rant a few weeks ago. I decided that instead of trying to impress the faculty by loading my talk with Greek letters and equations and impressive-sounding and looking slides, I was just going to talk about my research, and why I thought it was important and interesting. My goal was for the students and non-statisticians in the audience to understand the majority of my slides. But that was risky, because if I talked about in a way that made sense to those with less training, would it make it appear that the work I had done was somehow simplistic or not up to snuff for a PhD dissertation? Or, if it was obvious that I wasn't trying to impress the faculty, would they be offended and vindictive (this, of course, was a ridiculous option, since my department isn't like that at all). Turns out, thank goodness, nope! And I sort of suspected that would be the answer, but in all my imposter syndrome-ness I kept fearing that I was wrong.

So in addition to being validating specifically about my research and my ability to succeed here in this department, it's also wonderfully validating of my larger ideas of the sort of statistician I want to be. I can do this!


After extremely flattering links from Lawyers, Guns and Money and Cosmic Variance (which is currently featuring an awesome post on the physics of chocolate) I am experiencing a serious uptick in my usual number of readers. Of course, at the moment I'm scatterbrained and boring, so, um, hi new readers! Sorry! Life and all that. Hopefully someday soon I'll get back to my usual, irregularly scheduled program. Though I still can't promise anything particularly tantalizing. Keep those expectations low and we'll both be fine.