Thursday, November 29, 2007

Events before my Wednesday lecture

EDIT: This is a sequence of three posts. This one is about the events that occurred before; the one below this is about events on Wednesday 28th November including the lecture, and the final one is the aftermath of my lecture. I have posted them so that all you have to do is scroll down to read the next one. I think three (very) long uncontrollable posts made more sense that one awfully long one! Don't read them all in one go....

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"Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, and .... "

So it began. Yesterday it was The Galois Group's first ever student lectures, which was indeed an exciting and nerve racking time. That has become my favourite word: never racking! Thanks to DC I can also spell it correctly, but that is another story.

As I mentioned previously, yesterday I was up at 4am practicing one could say. I might as well stop this dumb vagueness, for if you read my blog and are at Manchester then you probably know who I am. If you don't come to Manchester and know who I am, then hi! [Just don't go announcing it to the world that I have a blog: my friends don't know!]


Before Wednesday

From day one I knew that I would talk about Galois, and then about The Galois Group, but that was all I knew. One week before Dr. Steele's lecture, a lecturer at the University had emailed me and said that unfortunately he couldn't make it to my lecture; but he had a project about Galois, and if I was interested he was willing to let me borrow it. I excitedly emailed him back, and the very next day found a very interesting project in my hand. The lecturer had discussed with me, how ET Bell and others have fictionalised Galois' life story, and how the project aims to narrate the most accurate version. (This lecturer has yet to teach me, but I first met him in a meeting during week 6). I disguised my ignorance when he gave me the project, for indeed I seemed to have an inaccurate version of Galois' life in my head.

Nevertheless, sticking the project away for later (due to coursework tests) an idea started forming in my head. It was one of them ideas which you allow yourself to carry, because it gives you a small comfort of at least having an idea. The idea was to do with me narrating two versions of Galois' life - one hopefully being an accurate version, and the other not to dissimilar to ET Bell's version. So this idea brewed in my head for a while, and many other mini ideas started expanding from it. During the time of Dr. Steele's lecture, my idea had become concrete and grown some flesh. Now it was just a matter of making it alive.

Indeed, it wasn't until I took my unofficial one week of study leave, that I got to work on my idea. Upon being asked about how my preparations were going, I used to reply with: "I am hoping to make it funny; well the first part anyway. And then the second part will be somewhat more serious." This had people intrigued, but I then panicked for I felt that my idea of funny isn't generally the same as other peoples. I vaguely ran my idea past Dr. Coleman, but first checked whether or not he had watched Shrek! Yes, that was a semi pre-requisite for my talk which was making me slightly worried. I didn't give the whole plot to DC, but he reassured me and told me it would be fine. (Text book phrases I felt at the time...)

I was going to try my idea past PS but he wisely declined, otherwise he would have "been bored throughout"! So it was just me and my idea now. The talk had to last for 20 minutes, and my plan was to make a power point presentation.

Eventually as I got started on the presentation, my idea was moving places and rapidly changing. I kept on chopping and changing things, until I had a spine. (This was for the first half of the talk). I probably over-prepared for this, and consequently spent less time on the serious bit. Twenty minutes didn't seem to be enough as well, because I had too much content. I wanted to talk about everything, and didn't know what to cut out.

Nothing is ever easy in life, and I was faced with many problems relating to the room that the presentation was going to be in. The computer panel was locked and it wouldn't open without a key. This had me very worried and I kept on pestering the computer technicians about this, until finally it was opened. (Thanks guys!) But then the damn sound wouldn't work and so my pestering continued.

Feelings before Wednesday: I was nervous and very very worried. I knew that the second half of my talk was sketchy, but I didn't know how to tweak it successfully. The first half though looked alright, and as did the ending. The inevitable feeling of messing the second account of Galois' life was hanging over my head. When I am stressed, it seems that in the process of releasing this stress, I stress everyone else out! When I do release the stress, I hope that excitement will flow through my blood: giving me courage. My dress rehearsal at home on Tuesday had gone really badly. I had put one of the audience member to sleep! (Noddy zoned out for the second half, which was understandable, and Nuno had put her hand up when I had asked the rhetorical question!) So one could say that I wasn't fully ready for Wednesday.

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