Afternoon Inqueery

AI: Habituation and Comfort Zones


Yesterday, I had to give a presentation that’s a minor milestone in my doctoral program – all the fourth years have to present at a colloquium for the rest of the department.  I had kind of a weird moment when I realized how much it wasn’t a big deal to me.  I made my presentation the day before, practiced it a few times beforehand, got up, talked, and sat down, and that was pretty much that.  It probably shouldn’t have been weird by now, since I’ve had that moment several times over the course of my graduate career, but this was the kind of thing that’s set up to look like a big deal, so I guess I expected to feel different about it.


But I’ve just put together and given that many talks on my research, now.  And it amuses me to look back on times when something like this would have seemed like a very big deal, or at other things that have made a similar transition from mountain to molehill over the years.


What are things that used to feel like a lot of work/pressure to you that don’t anymore?  What was it like to realize that they weren’t a big deal any longer?  Are there any things you struggle with now that you expect to see diminish in significance in the future? 


The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 3pm ET.


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Dae is a chemical engineering graduate student who aspires to become a mad scientist, but is prepared to settle for being a professor. Her extracurricular academic interests are an ever-shifting list, but currently include temperament psychology, philosophy, transhumanism, and pre-modern literature. She identifies as a bisexual cis-woman, as well as a feminist, humanist, atheist, and roleplaying game enthusiast.

1 Comment

  1. October 5, 2013 at 10:59 am —

    For me, I used to be terrified of speaking in front of people. Now I teach and get up in front of groups of people all the time and don’t get at all nervous. I think the moment I can pinpoint as being a change for me was a few summers ago I was teaching at a summer enrichment camp for “at-risk youth,” and I was in charge of the 12- to 15-year-old group. The first 20 minutes of that was one of the scariest things, but I couldn’t show them any fear as they spent that time taunting me and pushing my buttons or they’d never stop if they knew they could get to me. After being in charge of a group of adolescent kids for 8 weeks over the summer, nothing seems to bother me about getting up in front of people anymore.

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