My hand-held steamer is definitely no replacement for an iron. I was excited to use it when it arrived, and so I spent some time steaming my two crease-y shirts tonight after dinner. Unsurprisingly, I lost interest as quickly as the evaporation of the steam. Of course, I'd forgotten that I had no idea how to steam shirts, seeing as I'd never done it before. Do I press the nozzle against the shirt or hover it close to the shirt but without touching it? I still don't know.
The creasier shirt looks better than it did when it was fresh out of the machine, but well, all I can say is, the housekeeper that my parents hire back home ironed one of the two shirts that I steaming tonight and it looked amazing. After my steaming, it still looks like an old, ratty piece of useless cloth.
It is freaking 11.52pm and there is some loud sawing noise outside. What the hell is going on?! This had better not continue past midnight because that would be unforgivably obnoxious.
I had a mock viva with Dr P today.
I am going to blame this on my personality because that's the only explanation for it: I really hate talking. I would listen to the question, formulate some response in my head, but when I open my mouth to talk, I forget the things that I want to say halfway through. It is a wonder that I got past the interview for the PhD here. It is not even a matter of writing things down; I am simply not good at formulating halfway-intelligent thoughts on the spot. And I blame this on my personality because I am introverted like fuck, I don't like to socialise unless I have to, and I like even less needing to talk about my academic work.
I live very much in my own head. Writing comes naturally to me because it is like talking to myself, except I am not speaking but simply putting down in writing the thoughts that are in my head. The process of translating the thoughts via speech so that someone else can understand them can be incredibly taxing, and more so when I am situated in an academic setting, expected to sound intelligent, to not get flustered when I am challenged on my paper and my ideas. How does one go about that? I haven't even had time to properly digest what the challenge is, let alone formulate a proper response.
One could say that there's always room for improvement; but I am freaking 30 already. There comes a point in time when we're pretty much set in our ways. My aversion to public speaking and presenting my ideas orally is not going to go away; all that I can hope for is that it's tempered, somehow. I don't know.
Dr P said I need more practice, that I should be more familiar with the paper. He said that my performance did not present the paper well enough. (He said it in his usual super polite way but this is basically what he meant. It was funny that he prefaced his criticism with 'to be honest'. Of course you should be honest!) Be confident, he said.
That seems a rather tall order when an inner voice keeps second-guessing, almost intuitively and automatically, virtually everything that I said, everything that I wrote, the arguments that I made. Someone gives me a counter-argument and my response is not 'that's shit' or 'you're wrong', but 'oh that makes sense; maybe I am wrong'. But I am not really supposed to do that at the viva, right? I am supposed to insist on what I wrote. Yes, I do think it all makes sense, but...I don't even know anymore.
I don't want to be this person, though. I should at least come across as knowing what I am talking about even if I don't always know what I'm talking about. Sometimes I think it's a bit of cultural thing; I hardly ever talked in class back in Singapore because it's just not a thing, and at the LSE, my professors consistently commented on how quiet I was in class even as I was getting distinctions and high merits on my essays. In this sense, I'm not used to having ideas discussed and challenged and worked through orally, instantaneously; I tend to mull over things, try to make sense of things in my head, and things don't always make sense immediately (I would say, in fact, that they hardly ever do).
Anyway, I took away two things from the mock. First, I need to prepare a set of answers and memorise them. I mean, I am Asian, right? I am good at memorising things. That was pretty much how I received a distinction for my LLM exams; I memorised essays by writing the same essay a few times before the exams.
Second, I need people to do this with me again before the actual thing, whenever it is. It feels as if I am massively self-sabotaging here. If I am assessed solely on the basis of the paper and the proposal, I don't think I would have trouble passing. But they want to talk to me about it. They want to ask me questions to which they expect an immediate response. And I am expected to sound sure, knowledgeable, confident. At the rate things are going, my deer-in-the-headlights reaction to someone saying 'I think your argument here doesn't make sense' or whatever is a gun that I am holding in my hand, my finger pulling the trigger repeatedly while pointing the muzzle at my foot.
This stupid sawing/weird machine noise is not stopping and it's 12.15am. What the hell!?
Let's end this on a pleasant note: I love my fairy lights. They are brighter than my desk lamp. More importantly, they are so much prettier.
Edited to add: the sawing is more like a drilling. Who the hell is drilling shit at 12.25am?!