(“Words, don’t come easy [to me]” - F.R. David)
It is so different now, when the expectation and pressure is harder as a professor, than when I was a student. University of Guanajuato is preparing the ceremony of awards to distinguish professors who have been promoted as every year. In doing so, I was invited to come today to record a video as outline of my research and present a speech with a message to celebrate my last promotion. This video will be shown during the ceremony to be held in our Magnus Hall on April 23 (14:00 CST) along with other professors as a big event that probably will be broadcasted through Facebook UG.
I wrote and rehearsed my speech (in spanish) and prepared some ball-and-stick molecular models to get more visual about my explanation on our computational research. Today, in the waiting room, as other colleagues were also interviewed, I did not cross a word with those who were waiting for the same activity. When my turn occurred, camera man set up my microphone and I listened to the indications of the presenter about how I should introduce myself as a first step. Camera turned on and I started with the introduction. However, I got nervous when I started to talk about science. There was a first stop, the presenter noticed immediately my nervous. He asked me to read my speech from the printed version we had in sheets. We just came back again to the last time I stopped, camera turned on again and I started to read the lines I prepared. Then I noticed I started to visualize my speech in english and I got frozen in front of the camera. The presenter was like “dude, just relax, take your time”. However, I was demanding myself as I do when I give a scientific talk, not when I disseminate science and speak informally. I got a chaos in my mind, and we had to go paragraph by paragraph reading the lines and stopping the camera for a short break. Instead of taking 4-5 minutes as for the other colleagues, it took me more than 10 minutes to complete my interview. Production will have a waaay lot of work to edit the tape in my part, full of my stuttering, and adjust my monosyllables.
It was one day when my english could save the day but unfortunately, I got confused with my spanish and couldn’t make it work smoothly. One of those days when I questioned myself how much Mexican you are if spanish is really a part of your identity. I can affirm with 100% of certainty in my country is not bad seen if you speak other languages in the street and english is very welcome almost everywhere. I just know few people pushing you to learn and speak in spanish (certainly not within the University, as usual) in some areas. However, when it comes about media and delivering a message in public, it is certainly an issue that language matters. I’m very used to speak in english when talking formally about science as for all my international colleagues. But today was not the day.
Here is the complete speech -in spanish- I tried to say in front of the camera (I apologize because of some parts were lost during my performance).