It has been a weird week. I came back from holidays on Monday and hit “The Wall” by 10 o’clock Tuesday morning. If you’ve ever been a student, you’ll have experienced The Wall: the state of exceeding one’s ability to focus on and contribute sensibly to the task at hand. This insidious ‘condition’ presents in a number of ways. In severe cases, the afflicted individual may find themselves transfixed by the sheer expanse of a blank Word document or perhaps giggling hysterically with a fellow student at something that, in ordinary circumstances, would not provoke even a glimmer of a smile (typical onset: exam revision).*
Luckily for me, I was able to move past The Wall relatively quickly, following a healthy dose of groaning aloud (“AAAAAAHHHHH!”), and chuckling at the irony of having hit The Wall with the task at hand. Why was it so absurd ? Well, I was writing a presentation about my thesis, the third in fact in the space of about two months and I actually quite enjoy this sort of thing!!
I still don’t know what was tripping me up. Maybe it was having to recall all the details I had so meticulously culled from my last presentation, a three minute speech about my thesis for a non-specialist audience, so I could use these details in a ten minute presentation for a specialist audience? It might also have been my fear of accidentally lapsing into the wrong version of my thesis presentation if I used similar turns of phrase, given that I’ll be presenting them both within weeks of each other and I have a bit of a habit of memorising things, sometimes without meaning to. Who knows? All I do know is that right now, I’d rather just get up there and wing it! But I know I won’t, I rarely leave things to chance. To fail to prepare is to prepare to fail after all.
*This post was written with tongue firmly in cheek. You won’t find “Hitting the Wall” in the DSM or the physician’s desk reference!!