Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Strange day. For the second time in two weeks, I am nervous. Two weeks ago I surprised myself by being nervous over the awards ceremony. I'm not sure why, I didn't have to do anything except go up to the podium and shake the dean's hand when my name was called. Today it is the interview.

I am not normally a nervous person, and in fact I have been accused of not having a pulse, or having only one speed (reverse). But that is only a partial picture. As a student I was always nervous when I had to give presentations. I would drop a class that required public speaking. Eventually I forced myself to do them, there really is no way to avoid it in graduate school, but I was never glib. I remember blushing, or at least feeling like I was blushing. Practice does make perfect (either that or it is the comforting status differential) and that fear is long gone - I could wing it and BS my way through any class, if I am not careful it can take the hook (or the gong, I like that image) to shut me up.

But I notice I don't get nervous in the same way any longer. It manifests itself physically - and there is nothing I can do about it. My hand or leg shakes. I feel dizzy. My vision is blurry. I become obsessive-compulsive, and endlessly check and re-check my paperwork and all the details. Why do I put myself through this? I wonder. Nothing is making me do it. But it is probably a good idea to get practice, to force myself to stare it down, to win. Wish me luck!

Here was a jolt. As I killed time on campus this morning, another faculty member and I were discussing whether to give special consideration to a student (who doesn't really deserve it, but I am probably too rule oriented, bureaucracy lover that I am). "She is an older person," he says, by way of explanation. I nod, and fidget. I have access to the records system, and had just finished looking up her grades. I had noted her date of birth, and it is about one year later than mine. I'm not all hung up on age or anything. I don't wear make up, or dye my hair. When everyone in the room except you is 20 - and new ones come in every year to replace the ones who have aged, there is no point in clinging to denial. I don't know how old the other faculty member is - my guess is that he is probably younger than I am, though he looks considerably older (of course that is just my admittedly biased opinion). "Older person." Hmmm. I guess it happens to all of us, try as we might to run away from the truth.

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