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Wayne State University

Aim Higher

May 24 / Karen Stoll Farrell

If at first you don’t succeed…then take a second look!

By Nichole Manlove, SLIS Diversity Graduate Student Assistant

Reposted from The Diverse Library Universe.

I tried to stay within the speed limit as I struggled to ignore the sense of urgency brewing within me. Steadily I made my way south down M-52 towards Siena Heights University in Adrian, MI. I was nervous and I wanted to arrive early enough to set up and gather my thoughts. “This day, Wednesday, April 3rd, I was to experience my first speaking engagement outside of the classroom!” My job was to host an informal Lunch & Learn session; my goal was to enlighten as many students as possible about our graduate program and possible career opportunities. This is one of my most important responsibilities as the Outreach GSA for SLIS, so I took this opportunity to heart.

Luckily I landed in plenty of time!

Upon arrival I was eagerly greeted by library staff, including Bob Gordon, the Director and Corrine Smither, the cataloging librarian and a graduate of Wayne’s MLIS program. As I followed Corrine down the corridor and into the library I couldn’t help but think “This is the single most frightening moment of my life!” Nevertheless, my nervousness started to fade as I began setting up.

The atmosphere was calm, everything went smoothly as planned, the only thing missing…was the students! Now most people would have panicked, and rightfully so, but instead of giving up I took the stage and presented for Corrine and the Director. Being my first presentation I made mistakes…I stumbled over certain words and struggled with eye contact. Regardless, the director and Corrine listened intently and afterwards praised me in addition to giving me sound advice on eye contact, points to make in my future presentations and information to include or exclude within the slides themselves. The director even suggested that I walk around the room to engage my audience; he found this to be quite helpful in his personal experience. It was something I had not considered before, but nevertheless, it was good, sound advice!
Now for most people the thought of confronting a similar situation would have brought on a sense of failure, discouragement or even embarrassment. For me this was not the case, I looked at this as an opportunity to practice my speaking skills in front of two seasoned professionals and also gain valuable insight on presenting in the future. The worries of presenting in front of fellow students were erased, this was an opportunity to get the practice that I would need before presenting to a larger audience. Surprisingly, after all was said and done I walked away feeling satisfied and accomplished. I couldn’t help but think how lucky I must have been to get this one on one attention.

If there is one thing I have learned from this experience, it is that situations do not always work exactly out as intended. In hindsight we must be prepared for this. After all in the end we may find ourselves with something positive to gain–I know I certainly did!