Two weeks ago I had a full.on.week. Andrew and I traveled to Melbourne for a wedding on Friday, then Sunday I flew from Melbourne to Auckland where I conducted some training sessions for a few of our business partners on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday I woke up at 1:50am Sydney time and headed to the airport where I flew back to Melbourne to attend a client event for the day and then I had to fly back to Sydney that night. After being awake for 21 hours, I finally went to bed around 11pm but was exhausted, yet couldn’t relax. I suppose two countries and three cities in one day is enough to amp you up. But I had to rest because at 10:00am the next morning, I was giving a guest lecture at the University of Sydney. I couldn’t risk blubbering on in front of 100 students due to a mushy tired brain, so luckily I finally slept and somehow managed to wake up without feeling like a zombie. Adrenalin will do amazing things.
So… how did this all come about? Let’s back track a month.
Back in February an old colleague of mine who does some work at the Uni emailed me and told me about a market research class he tutors for. He asked if I’d be interested in coming in and doing a guest lecture on qualitative research. I said yes without any hesitation. I have always had this interest in teaching and as I got older, thought it would be cool to teach at a university. My life obviously didn’t head in that direction- but I always have it in the back of my mind that it may be something I’d like to do one day down the track. I figured this would be my chance to give it a go and see how I like it (and maybe actually teach a thing or two as well).
Unfortunately, there couldn’t have been a worse month than March to commit to this, particularly after travelling for six days straight. But I somehow managed to scrounge together some time to create a presentation that would hopefully engage the students and motivate them to listen to me for forty minutes.
I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare so it’s a good thing I don’t get too stressed about public speaking. I really had to know what I was going to talk about since there were minimal words and notes on my slides. I didn’t want the students to sit there reading boring bullet points as I spoke. In fact, my slides were super minimal in general (click on the image to see a few examples).
I also didn’t want to pretend to be an expert. I’m not one. I wanted to be the real world example of what you can do in this field, and I wanted them to know that research CAN be fun and interesting. It was pretty cool to get to do this for an hour on that Thursday morning. I even got a lapel mike and used a clicker! Woohoo I felt like a legit presenter. I spoke about how I got into research, a bit about online qualitative research, a few examples of projects I’ve worked on and answered some questions from the class. Overall I think it was mission accomplished. It was great to get up there in a lecture hall with tons of students and reaffirmed that teaching would be something that maybe I could do down the track… perhaps one day when I get a bit more experience under my belt.