Today was the last day of my internship. It was the other interns' last day, too, and we all gave talks this afternoon about what we worked on this summer. In case you were wondering what I've been up to for the last thirteen weeks, I've posted the slides and notes from mine.
Me, to one of the other interns: Your talk was good!
Him: Thanks! Yours was...complicated!
...I don't think it was that complicated, really! But you can judge for yourself. Also, I did the talk without notes, and I feel good about that. In the past, I've always given talks by writing down almost every word I want to say, and bringing a big ol' stack of paper up to the front with me. I didn't do that this time. I still wrote down almost every word I wanted to say -- I think pretty textually, and writing it all down helps me get my thoughts in order and drives the slide-making process. I stole the idea of writing down talks from danah boyd a long time ago, and I'll probably keep doing it. But instead of bringing the crib notes with me, I went up and did it cold from the slides, and I think that it was a much better talk for having done so. I had no choice but to be thinking about the things I was saying as I was saying them, and that meant that I had the presence of mind to answer spontaneous questions as they came up during the talk. I'm still working on becoming a good speaker, but I think this is the best I've done so far.
All in all, the summer was a success: the project will continue in my absence, I'll be a coauthor if we eventually publish something, I was invited to return next summer, and we all celebrated with pizza and Rock Band this evening. Count this one a win.