Re: Presentations

Jack Thistlewood, Writer

All right folks, the impossible has happened. Someone might enjoy presenting. Is that someone an introvert with socializing problems? Well… yeah. Before pitchforks are raised and torches are lit, maybe a few reasons for personal enjoyment are in order.

The first is that when I, the presenter, am fascinated by what’s most likely on Google Slides in the background, it shows. Take, for example, Poetry Out Loud. When I made a poem that had several… internal aspects that I don’t talk about often, there were quite a few things that I was on the verge of ranting about. Go ahead and insert a plug to the concept of ‘personas’, but I digress. While the experience of revealing more crucial aspects to one’s identity is harrowing, talking about it in a more-or-less casual atmosphere is something that I always love doing. Which brings me to why, especially in society’s eyes, presentations are so despised.

Easily one of the worst parts about presenting is how heavily they can affect grades, or, in the real world, a career. There’s always pressure to make a presentation professional – there can never be any errors, and may the teacher help us all if you talk about your obsession with a particular video game series for twenty minutes straight and then give everyone pickles. The best part about that last point – aside from the fact that it’s a true story – is that the atmosphere was entirely casual. Whether or not there was a grade didn’t matter. What does matter is that the presenter could pause, maybe organize their thoughts for a few moments, before continuing on and making very sense-of-humor specific jokes. The point is that the presentation wasn’t the presenter putting on a false bravado and professionally mumbling their way through five minutes of memorized lines about something they may or may not care about. When the presenter can walk up as a person, rather than as some nervous wreck shaped as a human, everyone involved gets more out of the experience. The problem of false airs also continues into something that is worse than a presentation: the devil that is group projects.

Group projects are a ground that few enjoy treading on. Those that do have most likely never gone a day in their life partnered with the human equivalent of a rock. Putting those matters aside for the moment, group projects quite often end in presentations. Professional facades are put up all the time, and every student can for a fact say they’ve seen an entire group trip over their poorly assembled slideshow worse than the DCEU trips through Rotten Tomatoes. However, when the stars are aligned and the universe has leaned in your favor (on credit with due interest), group projects go brilliantly. 

 I’ve ran out of ammunition trying to prove why teachers still use presentations as a medium for learning, so now is the time for the ultimate of digressions, which will continue into a part two article talking about my take on the persona.