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Ok, so i've been doing a lot of presentations and seminars and essays and all that kind of nonsense for the past few weeks in school, and have also been learning and fixing this new software we're using at work. I have been phenomenally stressed out these past few weeks. But Wednesday was my last class and the pressure is now basically off. Thank God. But one thing that did happen on Tuesday night was particularly humiliating.

I was giving a presentation at like 10 pm. at night, and i completely choked! Froze! It was horrifying. I was standing up there like a deer in headlights while the rest of the class looked at me as if saying, "Jesus, just hurry up so we can all go home." And i couldn't. My mind was racing and i just couldn't form what i wanted to say into words. I turned to my professor, who seemed about as understanding as a nazi concentration officer, and said, "Hey look...i can't seem to do this...let's let someone else go and then i'll go afterwards." She muttered something about it being highly irregular. A couple of my classmates were looking at me like, What the hell are you doing? As if i was pulling a stunt or something. It was quite a surreal moment. Time seemed to suspend as i gathered up my papers and just sat down.

Anyway, i have no idea how this is going to effect my mark. I'm an A student and this may very well bring me down to a B, or worse. I can only hope that my essay and final exam redeem me, grade-wise. But more importantly, how can this happen? I mean, yes, i have an anxious personality and dp and all that, but i've never froze like that before. I'm a pretty gregarious person. I have had absolutely no problem speaking up in class, or speaking in front of an audience before, but this thing just floored me. I've chalked it up to me being totally exhausted and stressed out like a MFer.

Has anyone here had any moments like this? Please share...and sympathetic comments are of course welcome as well.

s.
 

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I've always gotten really nervous when I had to do presentations. I've never frozen like that, but I've gotten so nervous during presentations that I sometimes skip things, I can't move my body, I sweat a lot, and I start trembling. I doubt that the teacher will grade you lower because you had to sit down and do your presentation later.
 

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No offense but I had to LOL. It's kinda nice to know that those kinda people like you who are normally not afraid to speak in public have a moment that's like what the rest of feel ALL the time. I get tongue tied talking to my Sunday school kids and they're children for crying out lound and they're probably not listeing to me anyway, LOL.

I guess this wasn't a sympathetic comment, sorry. But I am sorry this happened to you mainly because I know if you're like us you'll obsess over "why did this happen, why me, why now".

What's a MFer?

SP
 

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Shurwood once told me he was playing 3rd base in baseball and stared at a pop fly right in front of him and just let it drop. Just in a weird "chokish" way.
 

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Advice: Perhaps talk to the professor in his or her office, humble and embarrassed, and explain, somehow, with as little data as possible, that somehow something just, oddly, ?happened,? and that you know and enjoy the material, that you love the class, but that somehow, something just, oddly, happened. Did you end up getting through the presentation? If not maybe you can try again, or present something else, a paper or pr?cis or something.

And as far as this shame, your peers have their burdens and you have yours, and ultimately, the only assessment that kind of helped me was: fuck it, whaddaya gonna do.

God I know this humiliation. I had always been kind of an academic hot-shot until one day. . .

Anyway.

My first attempt at college I ended up quitting, after a few years, because of these kinds of issues. I returned, several years later, and managed to get a B.A. Some years after that, I managed to get an M.A. (And some years from now, I will get a Ph.D. By then, of course, I will have reached retirement age, and will have to move to some shack in Mexico to avoid my creditors. )

This last time around, in one class, in my first term, I froze, quaking, during a presentation, managing only to say to the other students in the class, as they stared either at me or at the floor, waiting for this to somehow resolve: ?this is probably more painful for you than it is for me.? And then, to the professor: ?I?m sorry, I can?t get through this,? and we moved on to the next student. I spoke to her later; she said that these exercises were an important part of the class. She didn?t quite understand what the big deal was, and I had to simply drop the class.

In another course?a journalism-type class--I asked the guy if I could record the thing and then play the recording in class. I made up some stupid reason, being purposefully a little enigmatic, as if I were just kind of interested in this kind of presentation. He was cool, didn?t press, and said sure. I felt pretty stupid about it when I played the recording, but I had been kind of a presence in this class, and could deal with being, in this regard, a little quirky.

In another class?critical theory?I over-prepared for the presentation. I untangled a large mass of that table-rapper Jung in a one page single spaced document, (not that easy; I find his mind soft, his prose clunky)diagramming his rhetorical structure and embedding it within mine. I handed these out in class and we all went through it together. It was a good performance and a good presentation.

After this success I had a model I could work with, and the experience got better. Anyway. I got the degree and was even kind of a seminar-star, but it was all pointless, since it was not part of any larger plan, but was just something to do.

Anyway,
 

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Ha, I thought you were going to talk about the Chuck 'Fight Club' Palahniuk's novel, 'Choke'. In fact, you do write in a similar fashion to him Sebastian...are you sure you are who you say you are?

Brainlock is a strange thing. I get it at seemingly inappropriate moments - not doing the presentation thing, or meeting new people, because I'm such a show-off that I revel in that kind of thing. I get brainlock when, I dunno, walk into a shop and asking for a packet of cigarettes...I suddenly 'freeze' and find myself unable to ask what I want. Bizarre. No idea why, and, obviously, no help to you.
 

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Has it been made into a movie Sojourner? Didn't know that. Is it just american-made-for-tv thing? If so, boo....I would have like to have seen it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the replies all.

Dalailama: Thank you for your soothing words. Your posts are always so bloody reassuring. I don't know if it's the content of them or the hypnotic whirl of your avatar, but something in it always seems to make me feel better.

Alas, i can't do the presentation over again (nor would i want to...i suspect the fact that i've already choked once would just compound the anxiety and i'd probably get up there, and be like: "I'd like to say a few words about a writer who really effected...Nooo! I can't do this..." and then splash onto the ground in a puddle of anxiety. No thanks. But even if i wanted to the class is over now and my professor is about as cooperative as a Bell Canada customer service rep. So i anxiously (and i do mean "anxiously") await the marks that will determine my future in the world of academia. It's so stupid. My essays were great, I aced the exam, and now one little brain freeze and i plummet into the abyssmal depths of the "B-student". Anyway, i should know in about a week.

Had a dream last night that I lost an essay at a subway station...then, i found the essay but couldn't find my wallet...then, i found my wallet but was missing something else. God, i need to get a life.

Martin: Chuck Palahniuk has now made it to my list.
 

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Dear Sebastian,
Ah, I know exactly how you feel. I've been performing and doing public speaking for a long time. Stage illusions and parlor tricks since I was 6, stage acting since highschool, television commercials for 2 years, and now political campaigning. Like any other talent or sport, you will either be "in the zone" or you'll be fumbling your way through it. Thats all I can chalk it up to. Some days you're in that zone and your unflappable, other days, you're at the whimsies of the gods. You can get yourself in the zone more often through practice, but I dont think that even in highly verbal individuals, that human beings were always constructed to be smooth and poised. No matter how great of a presenter or performer, we all just act human sometimes. When doing the most mundane of campaign chores, door to door "canvassing" (we dont call it solicitation because we dont actually sell anything) I will be talking to the 5,000th person about an issue this summer, and my mind will go temporarily blank. When I was an amateur, I'd freeze. Now I just stumble looking for a word, find an inadequate synonym, and get on with my point. I'm known for not using the scripts they give us to quote door to door (called the "rap") and just ad libbing, and it works far better than the other campaigners who use scripts. I can pull in roughly 200 dollars in 4 hours. I really just enjoy talking to people. I find if I treat the people at the door like I care about them, which I do, and not their vote or donation, that their defenses fall away. Act like you know what you're doing, even if you dont, and dont think about it. Just flow. Do NOT overprepare or try to make it perfect - those are the opposite of smooth. A truly smooth person is confident, knowledgable, and SPONTANEOUS. Those are the best ways I know of to get in the "zone". Hmm...I just read over this post and it sounds like a bloody infomercial.

Peace
Homeskooled
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Sound advice indeed HS. The thing is though, usually i am fairly poised, and while i'm never actually confident, I can usually feign confidence to a tee. It's very true about being "in the zone" sometimes and then others being completely lost. It's so true. There are times when i can make a point very competently, and then others when i'll be trying to explain the most basic concepts and find myself stumbling over the most peurile details.

As far as this whole thing is concerned, it turns out i'll have to wait another two weeks before i'll know my mark, and it's driving me batty. I wish i could just write another essay for it. Essays are good.

Anyway, thanks for the advice.

s.

p.s. Out of curiosity, who are you canvassing for? At what level of politics are you currently involved in? I'd be interested in knowing more if you're comfortable with others knowing. PM me if you'd prefer. Thanks.
 

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Dear Sebastian,
Its quite alright. I'm working with a US organization called the Public Interest Research Group, and their canvassing wing called The Fund. I helped with campaigns with PennEnvironment, PennPirg, and the Sierra Club. I joined because of their mercury pollution initiative, because I'm really up-to-date on the medical angle. Mostly I did door to door, ran letter writing campaigns, and gave speeches and press conferences for local newscasts/newspapers. You can probably download press releases of my speeches and video feed from the six o'clock news. Most people join to do the door-to-door because its fairly lucrative. A student would work 5 hours a night, from 4 to 9, and depending on his donations (you make commission) would earn anywhere from 250 a week (for the minimum 80 a night) or 450 a week, if you were pulling in something like 200 a night, like I was. Really, I started out as a regular canvasser, but I'm trying to move out of Pittsburgh because the pollution here bothers my porphyria really badly, and I've parlayed it into a job at the Youngstown,Ohio Board of Health. I went in for an interview with the Commisioner last week, and he likes my style. I have to write a grant now so that they can get funding to make me the City Health Educator. I would take care of PR, getting the word out about medical programs like lead poisoning, AIDS initiatives, etc...and give presentations at schools. I dont really know if this will pan out, but I'm moving back for health reasons, which is by far the most important thing in my life. But it'll give me an inside look at city politics, and I'd like to run for office some day. Should finish my college education eventually, though....Pay is really good though, and I'll get city benefits. We'll see....

peace
Homeskooled

PS- I showed all the guys in my house your avatar. I love that. Its the funniest thing I've seen online in a while.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That all sounds terribly impressive, HS. You actually sound like you have your life together a good deal more than your average DPer (especially if i'm what one would designate as such). It also seems like your chi is funneled in the right direction...a rare thing in "successful" people...rarer still in "successful" people in the political game.

I beseech you though, if you ever find yourself endowed with substantial clout at the federal level, please enlighten your wayward colleagues that Free Trade doesn't bend to the whims of current economic trends. It is just that: Free Trade. Not "Free Trade But..."...Not "Free Trade Except for..."...Free Trade, dammit! I don't know if you're aware of what's going on as this probably doesn't make big headlines in Pittsburgh, but in Canada we're all quite miffed at the American disregard for international trade law (ie. Canadian Softwood lumber). We're gearin' up for a trade war against you guys! Don't scoff, damn you! It's no scoffing matter! We'll see who's laughing when you go to have your sunday pancakes and can't find any maple syrup to douse them in!

But really, it's no laughing matter. I think American politics in particular needs more people who think of America first, yes, sure...but in the context of the global community, and not as a world onto itself.

But anyway, i got off-topic. Sorry. I may very well download some of your press released speeches. If you happen to have a link to one, I would be much obliged. If not, i can google with the best of 'em, so no worry.

s.
 

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This is a copy of the press release we handed out at my last conference. What they basically did was take a generic release and inserted my name. I didnt actually say ALL of this stuff. I said some of it.

PITTSBURGH?Pennsylvania could save over $2.5 billion in lowered electricity bills through 2030 by implementing minimum energy efficiency standards for a set of 18 common products, according to a new report released today by PennEnvironment. The report also found that by reducing demand from the state's coal-fired power plants, energy efficiency standards could cut annual smog- and soot-forming emissions by 2,500 and 6,000 tons respectively by 2020.

"Energy efficiency standards are a win-win opportunity for Pennsylvania's economy, our environment, and our public health," said Stephen Wegendt, energy and clean air advocate with PennEnvironment. "Just as gas prices, summer electricity bills, and smog alert days demonstrate the clear costs of energy use, this report shows one clear avenue for relief."

The report, entitled "Leading the Way: Continued Opportunities for New State Appliance and Equipment Efficiency Standards," was written by the Appliance Standards Awareness Project and the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. It calculated the potential financial, energy, and environmental savings that would result from setting efficiency standards for a set of 18 products currently lacking minimum efficiency standards.

PennEnvironment was joined by Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture), Conservation Consultants, Inc (CCI), and Pittsburgh City Councilman Bill Peduto-who last fall introduced a successful Council resolution in support of minimum efficiency standards-in releasing the report. The groups released the report at CCI's headquarters, a building that utilizes many energy efficient technologies.

"The cleanest, cheapest, healthiest, and most reliable watt of electric power in Pennsylvania is the one that is never used. Saving energy with smarter appliances is the easiest way to green energy, in economic and environmental terms," said Heather Sage, outreach coordinator for PennFuture. "The Pittsburgh area suffers from some of the nation's worst air pollution, and Pennsylvania ranks near the bottom among all fifty states in job creation and in population growth. Polluted communities are not competitive, and a growing economy depends on improving and maintaining our environment. Improving energy efficiency is an important and easy step in the right direction."

"If you use energy efficiently, then your energy bills are low enough that you can afford to buy renewable energy," said Ann Jones Gerace, executive director at CCI.

"Energy efficiency is the cleanest, quickest, and cheapest way to use energy while cutting down on waste; saving money and the environment in the process," said Councilman Bill Peduto.

The products analyzed in the report included commercial washing machines, exit signs, traffic signals, commercial ice-makers, and external power supplies-the small black boxes on the power cords of many electronic products such as laptop computers and rechargeable tools. By implementing minimum energy efficiency standards for this set of 18 products, the report found that:

- Pennsylvania consumers and businesses would realize $2.5 billion in savings through lowered electricity bills through 2030.
- Due to a decreased demand from the state's coal-fired power plants, annual sulfur dioxide emissions would be reduced by 6,078 tons by 2020 in Pennsylvania. Sulfur dioxide emissions cause soot pollution, the more visible type of air pollution that leads to over 1,800 premature deaths in Pennsylvania each year.
- Annual nitrogen oxide emissions would be reduced by 2,560 tons by 2020 in Pennsylvania. Nitrogen oxide reacts with sunlight and heat to create smog pollution, the hazy type of air pollution that is blamed for tens of thousands of asthma attacks every summer.

The report also noted that several of the products lacking minimum efficiency standards-namely commercial air conditioners, refrigerators, and freezers-are the products used most heavily during the hottest summer days when we most need to be conserving electricity to avoid overloading the electricity grid.

"Leading the Way" advocates that states take a leadership role in setting minimum energy efficiency standards, citing the history of states taking the lead in efficiency advancements, and political gridlock in Washington, DC making it unlikely that the federal government will take action on this issue any time soon. Within the past year, four states-Maryland, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Arizona-have passed energy efficiency standards for a set of the products contained within the report. Similar legislation passed the Pennsylvania state House last spring but later stalled in the Senate, and has since been reintroduced in the new legislative session.

Southwestern Pennsylvania is home to some of the nation's oldest and dirtiest coal-fired power plants, including the Hatfield's Ferry, Keystone, Armstrong, Conemaugh, and Homer City plants, and thus the region suffers from some of the worst air pollution in the country. A 2004 report by Clear the Air found that Pittsburgh ranked 3rd nationally for the most premature deaths (563) from power plant pollution among metropolitan areas.

"Here in Pittsburgh, we are in the belly of the beast when it comes to feeling the public health affects of power plant pollution," said Stephen. "Energy efficiency standards are the easiest and cheapest way for our state's leaders to start fixing this problem, while simultaneously providing a boost to the economy through lowered electricity bills."

I dont think you'll find this online. Try checking out Jet-24, Erie PA's Fox and ABC affiliate. They might have a way for you to look up video or news stories. Just look up PennEnvironment, and see if my news conference pops up.

I wouldnt worry too much. Since my main compass is a moral one, it doesnt know any national borders. If I dont think its fair to other human beings, I wouldnt endorse it. I'm not sure that Free Trade, completely unmitigated, is fair to all human beings involved. As I said in previous posts, it certainly rewards those who are least concerned with the wage of their workers. Until all countries have ways to ensure that their people are not enslaved in sweatshops, its not just a case of the best product winning. In this respect a country like Canada or the United States should use some form of protectionism to level the playing field for their workers. In regards to trade between two developed nations such as Canada and the US, unless dumping is involved, I dont see why we would slap a tariff on you guys. Frankly, I havent even heard of this issue yet. More often than not, because the US under Reagan formed the WTO, we are treated pretty generously in International Trade. Hopefully, it will get sorted out fairly and amicably so that workers on both sides of the border can live prosperous lives. Thats how I would view it. I do think, however, that especially in Europe, that it is the pot calling the kettle black. Everyone wants America to respect their wishes, but Europe is mostly a group of "realist" countries. They do what is best for them. If you dont like it, too bad. I honestly beleive that the US is far too caught up in being politically correct to ever quite reach the level of self-absorption that I see in many European foreign relations. But I'm sure we fall into that trap as well, as well as the trap of getting too caught up in doing good everywhere in the world but here.

Thanks for the compliments, but its not over till its over, as Yogi Berra said. I'm in the throes of figuring what the heck is happening with my health, parents who dont care, and just feeling majorly lonely about my lack of stability. I wish my college career was normal, with a normal family life. I wish my health was normal. I wish I felt like a fit in in Pittsburgh. Something just isnt quite right. My social life is seriously hurting. But I'm trying.....I'm trying really, really hard to stay productive, and work, and be around people, and keep up with my docs. Maybe, just maybe, something will pay off. Until then, I'm just plugging away.

Peace
Homeskooled
 
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