There are occasions upon which one becomes dispirited, and begins to question their entire focus in life. For me, these occasions generally come hot on the heels of presentations, I simply cannot do them; not well, anyways. I will feel absolutely confident about the subject matter going-in to it, understand it all so well that I can literally explain the whole thing is my sleep the night before…and then I will get up there, in front of the class, and someone will ask me something. Some perfectly reasonable question which I didn’t foresee and to which I cannot immediately figure-out an answer. And I will just freeze, and stumble, and mutter, and the entire rhythm of my confidence will be thrown-off. How is it that “mastery”comes so easily to everybody else, but for me there are always a bunch of perfectly obvious questions that it does not even occur to me to ask?
Moreover, given that I am consistently incapable of thinking on my feet, how in the hell will I be able to pursue a career in academics? That is pretty much the only avenue available for the study of theoretical physics, but one cannot just study; one is also expected to teach. And it is not at all clear to me how I will ever be able to do that if I’m constantly melting away during public speaking.