I didn’t realize until notified by Facebook that three years ago today I presented my first academic poster. Interestingly enough, today was also the first time I gave a research talk in front of an audience. The strange part is the difference between who I was back then, and who I am now. It was a world of change, and the journey is the most interesting part.
I was in my final year of my undergrad, conducting my own research project under the tutelage of a professor who gave me the opportunity to work for them. There I was, at the culmination of a year’s worth of work, standing in front of a poster, presenting all that could. The time I spent, over and over crafting that paper and ink was extreme. I wanted it to be the best thing it could be. I had undercut myself, didn’t think big. I did a poster, and yet through it all was unsatisfied because it felt like it wasn’t enough.
I’m here now, having gone through this journey and come out the other side realizing that I didn’t do enough. I didn’t strive hard enough, like a chicken with its head cut off, I didn’t know which way was up or down, just that I needed to keep moving. I am a man fortunate enough to have second chances and recognize when I have the opportunity to correct something. To do more than I thought I could before.
But today I gave a talk and though I still feel that hunger from wanting to do more, I know where my next step is, and where to put in the effort. Today is like the second chance, a change and proof of growth. I like the sound of that.