I refuse to disgrace myself in front of a crowd, but I swear! This presentation-thing doesn’t get easier! I’ll be very lucky if one day I make it to my old age without gaining the reputation of the girl who shit her pants in front of an auditorium full of smart people!
My presentation was scheduled for 11.20am. Which mean’t I had the first session of “Coastal Dynamics and Processes”, which I actually found extremely interesting and relevant to my own research, and funnily enough I managed to understand the majority of what was said, to fidget through! This session, being the most relevant to my Long-Suffering Mentor’s speciality meant that a barrage of questions were being scribbled down on post-it notes for me to ask at the end of certain presentations, due to her complete loss of vocal abilities, with only 24 hours to go before the Good Doctor had to present herself (God help me!). Pretending to know what she was asking about, while withstanding her rib-stabbing and gesticulations was somewhat embarrassing, but I put it all down to the experience of being a student to a very passionate, intelligent and highly-regarded scientist, who just happened to see something in me that she liked and gave me a chance to tag along with her at any and every opportunity – I’ll put up with her crazy idiosyncrasies and at the same time continue shoving medicated throat lozenges down her gullet in the hopes she improves by tomorrow…..
By the end of morning tea I was seriously in need of alcohol. When it came to my turn I stuck to my script, and thank god the technology worked! The presentation lasted for 18 minutes on the dot (!!) and a few questions were kind of successfully answered. For those of you who don’t know, my research involves the use of drones to map the Bridgewater Formation, Nepean Peninsula, Victoria – and more specifically, to map a certain paleosol (fossil soil) that exists in the area. To map this paleosol, I’ve formulated a new mapping technique to present my findings, and it’s this mapping technique that I was launching at the AQUA conference. Being a second year Enviro Science student, with only a couple of geology units under my belt, I was presenting something I thought could work in an arena of professionals, some of whom had been doing this kind of stuff for decades! I was way out of my league!
But in the end, everyone accepted and understood my shortfalls and lack of experience, and they seemed quite pleased with the results of my findings and what I had planned for the future. I was able to sit and enjoy the remainder of the session of Open Science, with a clear feeling of satisfaction as well as a dissipating terror!
Everyone was most excited that tonight was the Conference Dinner to be held at Villa Maria Estate and would consist of canapés, a winery tour, a three-course meal, and of course, unlimited samples of wine! So at around 6pm, several busloads of excited geologists began to disembark and all but run for the wine bar. Having spent four days with said geologists, watching them crustily interact with each other, often resulting in some controversial and heated question and answer times, I was NOT expecting the jovial and downright companionable atmosphere that became apparent 20 minutes later! I lost count of the many slaps on the back and congratulations from scientists of such standing I could barely stare and not slobber at them in response! But, the genuine advice from warm fellow students, mentors and retirees was something that shall stay with me throughout my career. The food was delicious, the company was wonderful, and the wine was divine!
We all stumbled to our beds late into the night, but a great evening was had by all. And my goodness……do Geologists know how to party!