Yesterday, I went to an awesome, awesome session on teaching gender inequality, and then an absolutely horrible session on immigration research. It should have been great - when I even vaguely have research interests, immigration related stuff is one of them - but it was awful. People who read off their papers and addressed the screen. People who put up slides with tables full of numbers that were completely non-readable. Etc. It was awful.
I grabbed some pretty good lunch with a couple of friends, and then did my presentation. One of the presentors had fallen off the program, and one didn't show up, and it was me and another girl who was obviously scared crapless. She got steadily more red as time went on, read off her paper with very little looking at her audience, and couldn't field questions at the end about her research; someone else from her school in the audience had to. Meantime, the only things my chair had to say were questions for her.
I left deeply, deeply grateful for the time and effort that my department has put into making us professionals, into making sure that we know that public speaking is important and moreover, how to speak publicly well, to giving us time to practice our presentations, into showing how to make the presentations look good, and making us feel confident about what we're doing, instead of throwing us to the wolves, which is what I've seen a lot of here this week. Heck, my department head was in my audience.
Afterwards, we came back to the hotel, ate lunch leftovers, and napped. We headed out to the department head's room party, had a couple beers, and chatted with people. One of my friends had gotten pretty dolled up - dammit, she was in a strange city and it was Friday night and she was going to have a good time - but we couldn't find one. We went out and wandered around for awhile, going to places were Google said there were bars and there weren't, and ended up back at the room party, which was nice. The nice, sweet sherrif's deputy in our group insisted that a bunch of people walk us back to our hotel, so they did that, we chatted on the sidewalk for a bit, and then I came up here and tried to sleep.
And that was Friday. It was a good day. I need to get packed up now...