Nature of the Problem:
Students have to prepare a thoughtful, concise, engaging PowerPoint presentation which will deliver some solutions and analysis to their clients, who were assigned 4? weeks ago.
Susceptibility of bodies to prolonged virus exposure; crowded space/working conditions; having more issues to discuss and analyze than hours available to do so; fatigue; emotional stress; anxiety over different professors’ different ways of doing things (even though we’re all doing the same thing)
value of graduate education, length of commuting times to Queens, New Jersey, Brooklyn, malfunctioning MTA/NJ Transit/PATH/MetroNorth, desire for a graduate nap room/infirmary/kitchen/bar, expense of graduate housing, anxiety over any and all employment prospects
You got me. Keep on keeping on, and for god’s sake keep some patience and humor.
You know, if I had mad skillz I’d craft a matrix for you all, which would just serve to get an ooooh and aaaaah from people like me, who, when a prospective student, assumed that somehow by the time this whole “Lab” experience took place, I would feel so transformed and competent that I would say that while challenging, Lab is like that annoying computer problem at work–something to be dealt and dispensed with, and no big deal.
Instead, we’re worried we’re not where we need to be, then get excited thinking we’ve Figured It Out (HA! behold our brilliance!)–and then we cycle right back to worry.
You do a first rehearsal of your presentation, and then the questions begin, and there are many. Right then is about when you panic, or stall, thinking why was that again? and YES we know we have to fix that typo (insert bratty eyeroll from KD, yes, I own it and I apologize). Meanwhile, if you’re me you have just hacked up nothing good on a raw throat and are so tired you don’t remember the contents of your own iPod, much less why That Great Idea is So Great. I had some idea as to what I was personally saying, but mostly kept thinking, I’m not “there” yet–I still need to rethink and chop this some more, to get to the essence of the point, and also, frankly, I WANT TO SIT DOWN.
After this first run through, which takes a long time, you go back and start from Slide 1, and work your way through. Right now that’s what we’re doing, and while on the one hand it is in the realm of telling a story, a process that I love and understand, on the other it’s about data and analysis and the technical side of policy analysis with which we engaged last term.
I am just in no place to evaluate what is happening procedurally right now. But I can report, happily, that in the midst of a lot of frustration and hard work, we are laughing a lot as a team, too. Which is good, because if I had to stifle the wacky for this long under these conditions, things would be quite miserable.