When I was in elementary, my English teacher encouraged me to compete in an impromptu speaking competition. Everyday for a month, she would start the class with my training. I would pick a random topic from a bowl, ranging from the Spratly Islands to the Ebola virus. After 5 minutes of dredging my memory and organizing my ideas, I would then talks about it for exactly 3 minutes in front of the class.Â My teacher and classmates would then give constructive criticism on my speech. They rarely challenged me on the content, However, my delivery. That month, I learned that I talked too fast, that I kept on scratching my nose, punctuated my sentences with ums and ahs, my hands were unsteady at best, and that my voice is very squeaky. This experience certainly made me, if not a spectacular speaker, then one with a disabled sense of embarassment.
Now, I just tend to say whatever comes to my head. An idea pops into my brain and instantly it has been made public by my uncontrollable mouth. It has led to several nasty cases of FMD (Foot-in-Mouth Disease) and a reputation for tactlessness. Of course, my loquacity only applies to informal speech. Due to lack of practice, my public speaking skills have degenerated into a stuttering mess. If you don’t use it, you lose it.
Aside from reminscing about my abused elementary days, what is this post for? To bemoan the injustice of two masteral papers and a class report all given with just a week of preparation time. Right at the same weekend that I was supposed to fix my new room, hibernate to recover a week’s worth of lost sleep, and a major family event.
I would have preferred to do a graded recitation than those papers. My relationship with technical writing is a love-hate-rollercoaster ride. Doomed if I do, doomed if I don’t. It took me three days to incubate the idea for a three page paper, and three frantic hours to get everything down on paper. In short, I only hadÂ three measky hours of sleep yesterday.
Two down, one more to go. Fun, cramming is not. But necessary.