transcatheter aortic valve replacement
Currently I'm working as a lab assistant in the UCLA Cardiac Outcomes Research Laboratory (CORE Lab) and on Saturday night (8/6), I received a text message from one of the lab members asking me to read and present 2 articles at the lab meeting on Monday.
At first I was absolutely terrified and suddenly a nice day of relaxation turned into a day filled with anxiety and fear. I've NEVER been one who enjoys public speaking (not sure if there are many of us out there who do) but it gives me such anxiety! My heart beats out of my chest, my voice gets shaky, and I get crazy hot! Needless to say, I was not very excited.
But nonetheless, I printed out the two articles and began reading. I saw this moment as something I knew I HAD to do because it could only benefit me in the long run (especially since I want to become a doctor). Upon first read, the articles were very dense and hard to understand, but I pushed through and finally was able to jot down some talking points.
My mind kept wandering back to how anxious I knew I would be one I got to the meeting (which in turn made me even more anxious!). So of course, I did what anyone else would do when they need help: I called my grandma (Gram). Thankfully she's a psychologist and works a lot with patients who have crazy amounts of anxiety. Gram gave me a few pointers to relax: take some deep breaths, talk to yourself in 3rd person and encourage yourself.
Then Monday came around and I wanted nothing more than to get this presentation over with and to KILL it! Luckily my mom had some leftover anti-anxiety meds of mine (used for when I fly..I'm terrified of airplanes!!) so I decided to take 1/2 of the pill just to be sure.
Finally I got to the meeting and my supervisor (chief of cardiothoracic surgery at UCLA) asked me to present first. I calmly obliged and began my presentation. All I can say is
OH MY GOSH!!!!
I have never been so calm giving a presentation IN MY LIFE! I felt in total control of the situation, my heart wasn't acting crazy, and I was able to speak at a nice pace and enunciate all of the difficult vocabulary!
I honestly feel like I've experienced an entirely different life. Maybe I'm growing as a person. Or maybe that half of the pill gave me the extra boost of confidence I needed (pretty sure it was just a placebo effect anyway!). Or maybe the fact that I was speaking about medicine, something I'm extremely passionate about, made it easier to discuss. Regardless, I am so proud of myself and I am eager to present about more medical topics in the future!
Moral of the story: call your Gram for tips when you need help. Or, simply remember that you are an intelligent and capable person, and you'll excel at anything and everything if you set your mind to it :)