Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Some things that I just can't shake!

This week should be a little bit easier than last week. Instead of 70 papers, I have 70 finals to grade - which will take less time because I don't need to give the same amount of comments on a final (especially since most students won't even pick theirs up)! Mostly, it is calculating points and then going through some complicated math to figure out final grades. This is for my TA class.

For the urbanism class, today we had a guest lecture which was fabulous- I could sit back and relax (well sort of) - and just listen, I did not have to plan a lesson! I say sort of because throughout the lecture I was trying to think of a really good question to ask. I decided that I want to start to force myself to ask a question at every lecture, panel or discussion I attend. Asking good questions is a really important skill to build. And even though I can do it in class or in my graduate seminars, formulating a really good question on the fly in front of a large public audience is still something I need to work on.

Usually what happens is that I formulate a question, but am worried that I won't articulate it well or will stumble over my words so I sit and wait and try and build up the courage to ask it. Then by the time I have mustered up the courage - someone (usually a Prof or someone I admire) asks some variation of the very same question! This exact thing happened today. The guest lecturer was presenting her sculptures - or as she called them "public interventions." I had developed a question about her use of the language of the city and architecture (she utilized road signs, marquees, and other architectural elements). More specifically she used these elements to project very archaic quotations that referenced a more agrarian time. So I was interested in - why these references to a more rural, non-urban past? Is it a form of nostalgia? A kind of anti-urban message?

Anyhow, JM asked a question very similar to this but focusing more on the concept of obsolescence and the city - and why AW (the artist) chose to use objects that were "obsolete" and even phrases that not many people would understand. Then, by the time I had reformulated my question to work into the conversation -- CB announced that we were out of time! ergh.

One day soon, I will indeed ask a question at one of these events. JD (who is so incredibly shy) told me that I shouldn't be so worried about it and just ask a question. Don't worry about trying to look smart or anything - ask what you are genuinely interested in. This is what I try to do, but still cannot muster up courage.

So that was a little bit frustrating - but nothing new. Something else happened today that put me very much on edge. It really did upset me. Actually upset me so much that I couldn't even tell my husband about (though I finally did). I really don't feel comfortable repeating it here. Though I will tell you that it had to do with overhearing somebody saying something about me that really hurt my feelings. It was one of those things that happens in an anxiety nightmare - that you hear someone saying something bad about you, but of course they don't know that you have heard.
I finally confessed to husband and he helped me put everything in perspective - but I still haven't completely shaken it.

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