I've always loved doing presentations. No matter how many you do, you can always try new design ideas you saw other people use, speak with fewer notes, or even none at all. And then, standing in front of the class, next to a presentation you're genuinely proud of (mostly because you spend hours googling how to insert gifs into PowerPoint), you get only a handful of minutes to blow everyone away. To seem confident and knowledgeable and like someone deserving the half-hearted applause that your classmates are obligated to give.
Now, in times of online learning, we are forced to go without. If you're lucky, you'll get some applause emojis, that's true, but aside from that honour you're pretty much left with giving yourself a high-five when you're done presenting. Or a low-five, that depends. Quite upsetting, right? I thought so, until I understood what a gift it actually was.
The realisation came today as I was preparing for my presentation tomorrow. The presentation is about European Union Law and its institutions. In Spanish. Already the process of making the presentation (a 'group' project) was a bit wobbly. Our meeting in week 1 turned into a meeting on Thursday, which was moved to Saturday (outside of the group chat, so that was a pleasant surprise). Like the good Northern European (seen from Spain) I am, I woke up early on Saturday, since we didn't set a meeting time. But my continuous messages asking when we would meet up remained unanswered. Finally, at 11 am, I lost hope and decided to study in the park instead, a plan I followed through until I fell asleep in the park. I blame the sun.
Saturday night, the meeting was finally moved to Monday, after 4pm. Again, repeated inquiries about the exact meeting time remained unanswered. As a result, I waited for hours, checking my phone every two minutes whether a time had been set. Around 5pm, I decided to prepare lunch (it had been a day filled with Uni), constantly afraid to get 'caught in the act' and having to admit I was cooking while we (supposedly) were meeting. Only around 7pm, one team member answered and we decided to turn the group meeting into a one-on-one meeting.
I walked through my scripted essay I will read out, and she gave me feedback on pronunciation and grammar. As I look at the slides, listen to my Spanish, and think about my group, which I have never met, I am quite satisfied with the idea of hiding behind a screen and, hopefully, receiving an applause emoji.
Jesler van Houdt
Edit: I have not received applause emojis (I don't think you're able to with the program the Uni is using), but instead my group received a small applause from the teacher, so I will take that as a sign that the Spanish group work system is working.