My Favorite School Project

A wise man once told me, when judging career options, “Does it make you money? Does it make you happy?” In the case of school, a good grade/experience would replace money. One of my favorite academic experiences was in an undergrad course for  Interpersonal Communication, for a “What/How To…” presentation and talk about policies/procedures on the given topic.

My initial presentation was going to be about sexual harassment in the workplace. I would start off telling some dirty, off-color remarks/jokes and then roll into my presentation (I’m sure now that it would have gone over horribly). A week before my presentation was scheduled; someone in our class gave a presentation on sexual harassment in the classroom. They basically stole whatever “thunder” I might have had going into the following week. On top of that, the presenter bored the class immensely with the topic.

I knew I needed a change and after giving a bunch of presentations that I halfheartedly delivered, it was time to have some fun. I called my professor days before the deadline and convinced her I wanted to do a presentation on what NOT to do for a presentation. Her voice perked up as I told her I wanted to have a “staged meltdown” in front of the class, all the while having her (and no one else) in on the joke.

The big day came and I completely pretended to care less about being there. When it was my turn to speak, I dragged myself up to the front of the class, had some fake props and tried to get the class to settle down so I can speak. No one listened to my monotone request for silence. I thought, “Wow, not getting any respect is easier than I expected.” When I put my “fake” PowerPoint slide about sexual harassment in the workplace on the projector, I heard someone sarcastically quip, “We already had that one last week.” They were playing right into my hands already.

The next thing I did was grab binder filled with “paperwork” regarding sexual harassment policies and told the class we’d go through each one individually. I pretty much heard a collective groan from the class. I then “accidently” dropped the binder and the papers spilled onto the floor. When a classmate tried to help me pick them up, I yelled at her, telling her the pages were numbered.
Then came the meltdown. I cursed and told the teacher I had enough of presentations. I pointed to the student who had made the sarcastic quip and told him he was right; we did not need another sexual harassment presentation. I picked up the binder and threw it against the blackboard and told the class I didn’t need any more of “this s**t.” They looked in horror as I stormed out and slammed the door. As I stood outside the classroom with my ear to the door, I could hear some students asking the teacher what was going on as she told them to wait just in case I want to gain my composure. Now I waited a little bit longer.

Suddenly, I whooshed the door open and with a big smile I proclaimed, “And that’s how you DON’T start a presentation!” At first they felt “punked (a popular MTV show at the time),” but it really set the tone for one of the most exciting presentations I had ever given. My heart was beating out of my chest with enthusiasm and I finally thought that I could make this “communication thing” a go. It was therapeutic and invigorating to give a presentation that I could be passionate about.

Up until that point, I had been a wallflower too afraid to let my personality show for school projects. I finally thought, “I could excel in school and have fun creatively.” It was an emotion I had not felt since grammar school. I can highlight that experience as a turning point that has led me to the Interactive Communications program today. It leads back to my original point…will doing something I am passionate about help me achieve good grades? Yes. Will it make me money? Someday. But, most importantly, will it make me happy? Absolutely.

Category: Uncategorized  Tags:
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>