Feeling vaguely discouraged after a presentation

I mostly just wanted to get this out in words to people who might have had a similar experience. So I’m an undergrad math major and I’m currently doing a semester long senior project. The department has a new rule that students doing capstones have to do a mid-semester presentation to the faculty. I’m the first (and only) one to do this so far (small school and all).

My project is that I’m trying to come up with and prove a conjecture about virtual knot theory. So far in the semester, I’ve done a unit on graph theory and surfaces, and then knot theory, and a lit review about virtual knot theory. My presentation could only be ten minutes. It ended up being ten minutes of all the necessary definitions and backgrounds to explain the conjectures I had.

It didn’t feel like the worst presentation I had done, but it definitely wasn’t ideal. I got a lot of good feedback from the professors who attended. However, during my meeting with my adviser today we were talking about it and I mentioned how I felt it was hard to make it seem like I had actually done work in just ten minutes. She said she understood and that I had done a good job, especially answering questions after. Then she mentioned that she told the other professors that ten minutes was too short to fit everything in after they had said it seemed like I didn’t know anything.

She said it so casually but I was kind of floored. I’m pretty close with my professors and it definitely hurt to hear that some of them thought I didn’t know anything (especially since it’s pretty easy to figure out which one said that). I know I have another chance at my final presentation to “redeem” myself but I’m having a hard time not feeling completely insecure about my work after that comment. I know I could have given a better presentation if I had more time, but that was the limit I had.

That’s that, I really just wanted to type this out but if anyone’s had a similar experience and have words of advice/encouragement, I’d love to hear them.

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Nevin Manimala

Nevin Manimala is interested in blogging and finding new blogs https://nevinmanimala.com

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