As I look back on the past week of presentation preparation and how it all ultimately turned out, I can confidently say that I am proud of everything I have done. I began preparation by creating a small packet for my audience to read. Beginning with the presentation outline, I was able to formulate my thoughts into the basic points of my presentation before focusing on the details. I then went back to read the entirety of my journal to find my favorite entries. As I read I smiled at happy memories, wondered about the things I might have done differently, and, with embarrassment, changed a lot of spelling mistakes (whoops!). I don’t think I truly realized how much I had changed until I went back and read my journal. I found that many of my opinions had been tweaked or completely changed by the experience. One of the things that struck me the most was my beginning goals and how many of them I believed were things that I could easily change about myself, however, looking back, I realized that they were not so simple in their answer. This, I decided would be the basis of my presentation.
After several days of preparation, the time had finally come, so I arrived 2 hours early to make sure everything would run smoothly. As friends, family, and evaluators entered the room, my nerves kicked into high gear. However, just a few minutes into the presentation I felt the words flowing from my mouth and the nerves being suppressed by the excitement of finally giving my presentation. As the minutes flew by I watched the clock, not wanting to over-talk and bore my audience, but found that there was still so much more I wanted to say. As the 30 minute mark rolled by my brain began to display signs of fatigue. I began getting caught up in my thoughts and losing track of what I was saying allowed. I charged on, determined to end the presentation as well as I had started it. Finally, as I concluded my last points, I smiled and took a deep breath. As I sat down for the evaluation, I had no clue what to expect. If all was judged based on the expressions I had seen on my evaluators’ faces during the presentation, all would have been a failure, but luckily expressions do not always match thought. As I had always wished, my evaluators all exclaimed about how well I communicated my emotions both through my writing and through my presentation. One woman began by telling me that she had spent her whole life in the fashion industry and that, as she read my journal, she saw so much of herself in me. This was truly amazing to hear, knowing that an experienced professional in the field believed that I could be a successful as she was. The only criticism I was given was about some things I had left out in my presentation, which made me wonder if they would have preferred an hour long presentation or to just continue on without ever knowing. This also made me realize that my laziness when it came to my journal writing had really hindered my full potential my journal had and I longed to go back and tell the world every detail. However, I cannot change the past, only the future and as the evaluation came to a close, this phrase gave me a yearning to continue the life I had begun with WISE. After I thanked each of my evaluators and watched them leave the room, Trish and I turned to one another and smiled. It was finally over.
The presentation was the best possible way I could have imagined to end my WISE semester. Being able to look over my entire experience and reflect on it as a whole gave me a true sense of accomplishment.