This time next week, I would have sat through three days of my first ever experience as a Thesis Juror. It is both an honor and a horror for myself but one thing’s for sure: you’ll remember this for the rest of your life. I remember my own thesis deliberations as a fifth year candidate for graduation; So I thought about coming up with a list of things you need to know/ understand and expect. A little tidbit of information: Up to this day, I have memorized what they’ve said and how I should’ve answered that day.
- Let’s not forget there’s a time and place for everything. This is the best time for you to get yourself together and look presentable.
- Make sure you have everything before you start your presentation.
- Print out your A3 copies first as a draft and CHECK if it’s legible. After making sure that everything is in order, print it out EARLIER than you need it. A day before, everything should be set.
- If your boards are the sole mode of presentation, make sure everything’s spot on. Have it printed out in a smaller scale, correct it and then have it set printed on to the desired paper/board size.
- Condition your mind and focus. You need to get through this!
- Be prepared for the worst.
- Have your presentation backups in three different places or bring your own equipment.
- Have backup slides in case your jurors would need a little more information on your appendixes, blow up plans, materials, etc.
- Practice your spiel and make a script weeks before your presentation. Own it!
Know your data
I always tell my students that a Thesis Defense is a test of ownership. Know your data and make sure you’ve done your research.
- Answer questions clearly as it is referenced (from credible sources) and studied. It is expected that you know your book and where you got your data. Never say the following:
- I got the information from another prof/ person
- I got my data from the Internet (really?)
- I got my standards from a brochure
- You don’t want your jurors to get to the point where they have to open your book for the answers they are looking for.
- Speak your mind.. politely.
- This has a lot to do with being prepared as well. If it gets to a point where there’s this heated argument, know when to say “Point taken, Ma’am/ Sir.”
Present your data in a nice and logical order.
Tell a story if you have to. State the background/ intro briefly. The meat of your presentation should be your design solution. The concept, objectives and how it all ties with your thesis should be evident.
- Start with the background of your Thesis. Why did you want to solve this problem architecturally? After this, introduce your work. Just make sure that at the end of your presentation, everything essential was discussed. It doesn’t matter if you start with your perspectives or architectural bay section.
- Do try and explain your plans logically. Use legends and key plans. Orient it to your site.
- Watch your tone and volume. You don’t want to come off as arrogant. Even the way you stand can communicate the wrong body language.
Surround yourself with people you trust and return the favor
- What are friends for, right? If you have a little issue with speaking in front of a crowd, try and have them seated at three different spots where you can find them. Try and focus on your friends when you’re doing your presentation.
- Let them know your schedule and what you need. Ask them nicely!