Being in science since 1986–which would mean about a quarter of a century since I began to study in university–I have spent a lot of time learning to communicate, both in writing and orally.
I’m not sure when I lost my jitters and nervousness at standing up in front of crowds of people and speaking, whether it occurred gradually over time, or whether there was a defining moment where I said to myself “This is not so frightening.” I do know that it’s been a long time since I had such stage fright–with the exception of my first book reading last year–which was an entirely new experience.
Yesterday evening I had the opportunity to listen to a music recital, in which my daughter participated, and I had a startling revelation. I just hadn’t really noticed or connected the dots. Every time one of my children performs (and it doesn’t matter what)–in school or community playhouse plays and musicals, in Taikwando testing–you name it and I’m suffering the jitters.
For those of you who have children, I’m curious as to whether you undergo the same stress?
But my startling revelation was that every time one of my students or postdocs presents her/his science in a forum outside the confines of our lab–I’m also sh*tting bricks, pardon the expression. Is this natural? Can anyone help me out? And will these jitters dissipate over time, or am I resolved to a life of endless new stressers as students and post-docs come and go from the lab?