Through WCCUSD’s Ivy League Connection program, Hercules High School Students Justine Betschart, Stacy Chan, Ramiah Davis-Shephard, Louisa Man, Julia Maniquiz, and Yueming Wang will be attending Cornell University to either study Freedom and Justice or Hotel Operations Management during the summer of 2009.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Overwhelmed with Nerves

Today was the day of our Powerpoint presentations. Last night, I stayed up until 2 in the morning practicing over and over my part of the presentation. I was determined to get it down to a T. I made sure I elaborated on all of my points and made sure I did not stutter. I was incredibly tired by the time I decided to go to bed. In addition to this, I woke up half an hour later than I would normally wake up. Such an unfortunate event would occur on the day one of the most critical days of this course. What bad karma.

When we reached the Binenkorb Computer Lab, my group and I had to make final adjustments to our slideshow and correct all the mechanical errors we found while rehearsing last night in the dorms. Every single group was in a rush to finalize and perfect everything. It was to the point where we were all almost late to class.

Once I walked into the main classroom, I was relieved we had our Powerpoint slideshow done. Although, all my nerves rushed towards me as it was time for presentations to start. I am in group 5B, and there are a total of 19 groups that went today. Mr. Crossley was there to watch us present too. Earlier this week, Mr. McCarthy mentioned to Mr. Crossley that Yueming and I would present after lunch. I was looking forward to that. I thought I would have more time to prepare myself and practice my part. However, the plans switched gears. Groups 1A through 5B went in the morning and groups 6A through 10 went in the afternoon. I was literally shaking in my seat when Mr. McCarthy announced this to the class. I needed and wanted that lunch break. I didn't feel I was sincerely ready. I had all sorts of questions running through my head. What if i freeze up? What if I forget a word? What if I couldn't answer the questions the audience may ask? I was panicking.

I told myself to breathe. As the groups went one by one, it finally reached 5A. That group has the same hotel company as us. It was nice to see how the other group approached the same topic as us, but it sucked to have to go right after them. They were really good! Their presentation skills were beyond my expectations from any student in the course. I was definitely worried now. I just tried to breathe and convince myself it will be alright.

When my group reached to the front of the room, I could do nothing but place a confident front and just do the best I could. It turned out that I wasn't that bad. Our presentation went a lot smoother than what it had been during rehearsal the previous night at office hours. I was so proud of all of us. I thought I did much better than when I was practicing the night before. I think next time, I should relax a little more and stop second guessing myself.

At the end of all the presentations, Mr. McCarthy identified all the mistakes that the groups made as a whole. One of those were not smiling. I hadn't realized it before, but it was true. No one that went up smiled. I must keep that in mind for next time.



  1. Relax, relax, and once again relax. Overpreparation is a killer. Part of being confident is the ability to stay committed to your plan and not overthink your ideas. I am glad that it went well and you were able to get command of your emotions.

    As an attorney I make appearances before Judges every day and I must be calm and composed. The majority of the time I succeed, but sometimes I lose. When I lose I do not take the loss personally, but I try to take something positive from the experience.

    What I see in this post is a young woman who is growing and embracing the opportunity to succeed. Yes, success can be yours, you just have to embrace it. In reading your post it is clear that you embraced the moment and got the just reward.

    No matter whether it is a morning project or one in the afteroon you just have to be ready. One point that I will continue to emphasis is that you need proper rest. I mentioned this to Yueming in my reply to her post. I want you to remember that life is about balance and the only way to maintain balance is to not become overwhelmed. Sleeping, eating and working need to be in proportion.

    One is in balance when they stay consistent. I see that this was a great learning lesson for you and the others and I am glad that it came out well.

    Enjoy your day.

    Charles T. Ramsey, Esq.
    School Board Member
    West Contra Costa
    Unified School District

  2. Louisa,

    What's wrong with you? Don't you have any mirrors in your dorm? Can't you look at your reflection and see what we all see--someone who knows her stuff and is capable of just about anything?

    I hope that if you take nothing else back from Cornell you'll take your own word with you and make them "...I should relax a little more and stop second guessing myself."

    It's all too easy, Louisa, for you to worry yourself into an early grave. Even when you KNOW your stuff, when you lack that confidence it's going to show.

    I'm reminded of an old guy I used to work with and his greatest compliment might be "Today you didn't suck." I'm betting that you did much better than you might imagine. And, at the end f the day, do you think you learned anything from the process?

  3. Don,

    I surely did. I really need to work on the confidence I have in myself. I have always had this problem and now that I am a rising senior and almost going off to the real world, I have to conquer all the fears I have. I know I can do it. Thank you and everyone in the ILC for believing in me so much. You all are wonderful support that I always keep in my mind.