college, grad school, life, life lessons

Fake it till you make it

A few months in to grad school and the one thing I have found that you are expected to do in most classes is a presentation. Now, coming from India, the land of mugging up and Engineering colleges, I have only given two presentations in my undergraduate career. But now I have the perfect formula for giving presentations. Having written my share of Anna University exams I found that the strategy that I applied to semester exams in under grad works perfectly in this context. So here are my go points while giving any presentation:

ACT LIKE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT

This is the primary strategy with which we answered Anna University exams. Even if you know only the bare minimum, build on it. It might be gibberish to your ears, but believe in it. Have the confidence that you know exactly what you’re saying.

ACT LIKE THE AUDIENCE DOESN’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT

Those poor people listening to you talk! They are imbeciles! YOU have to educate THEM. That’s the mantra that should go on inside your head.

 

FAKE IT

How you present yourself is important. If you are feeling unconfident, fake yourself in to thinking you’re the best. That sounds like some weird reverse psychology, I know, but listen to this amazing Ted Talk by Amy Cuddy. You will approach things with a new perspective.

 

Now for some practical tips:

  • Bullet points, keywords and flashcards are your friends. Embrace them.
  • Do not hold a piece of paper in your hand and refer to it every chance you get. I used to do that a lot and it was no help.
  • Practice a gazillion times. Preferably in front of the mirror.
  • And the best advice anyone ever gave me: “Act like you own the room  world.” Trust me, it always works.
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America, college, January Blogathon, life lessons, madras, my crazy days

Day 7 – Stalkers

I had my orientation yesterday. Three hours of talking and getting to know others and another hour of a lecture on campus safety. I couldn’t help but subconsciously make comparisons to my orientation in undergrad which consisted of various heads talking about how great a college we were in, the number of laurels the college has won and why we were lucky to study there.I do not recollect a single word being spoken on how we should protect ourselves and be safe within the campus. This month is Stalker Awareness month at SCU and they gave out leaflets defining harassment and stalkers. They gave help line numbers and introduced us to the student safety organizations.

The flyer defined a stalker as someone who repeatedly approaches you even though you have denied their advances. And instantly my mind flashed to my first year of college where guys would keep calling/texting girls and intimidate them in the name of ‘ragging’. While ragging might actually be a good thing if done in good spirit, the other kind almost bordered harassment. The weird thing about this is I never realized that it was harassment until today.

Creeps would get the phone number of girls and send them anonymous text messages, blank calls, anonymous calls, etc in the hope of either starting a relationship or if that doesn’t work out, a friendship. This has happened to me and to every other friend of mine. We would brush of this kind of menace and not take it too seriously. I have an inbuilt ignoring system where once I feel uncomfortable with someone I just ignore them. This did work for me a few times but there were instances when ignoring them would send a ‘playing hard to get’ vibe.

Why did it take me so long to realize that this was harassment? And why did me and my friends never do anything about it? I thought ok, that was a phase, everyone is weird in college and they’d be done with it but no. This vacation when I was in Madras I met one of my girls who works in a top IT company. She was talking about the same kind of guys. There was a guy who would look up the bus time table and make sure he comes with her everyday even though she kept her distance, he would message her on the company’s messaging system and she would be cryptic. Then, he started calling her and texting her repeatedly although she never picked up or replied to his messages.

I’m really baffled as to why we (me included) take this kind of harassment lightly. In college I knew some girls who were flattered by this kind of attention! Guys really need to learn that there is a fine line between showing interest and harassment.

Colleges should also start some sort of student safety organisation. I always felt that my college/university made things difficult instead of easy for us. Maybe they’d change once the stop treating us like children.

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