Despite my worries, the final presentation went pretty well. I gave a clear speech about my honor thesis and my current work progress, and the audience seemed to be highly engaged.
One thing surprised me a lot was people’s big interest in my project. My honor thesis is about the predictors and consequences of support-seeking in close relationships. When I first introduced my project to others, the first question they had was what could be defined as support-seeking behaviors, and the second question was about the significance of studying specific support-seeking behaviors, given that asking for support and giving support are such natural things happening in daily life. I thought for a long time about how I could introduce support-seeking in a way that people can easily grab and relate to their own lives or even their private relationships. The program director Dr. Devine provided me with some inspiration. In “Modern Family,” an extremely popular show that many people might have watched before, once the husband Phil was enjoying a free spa and he got a phone call from his wife Claire, in which Claire was complaining about all the bad things happened in her terrible day. Phil provided many simple solutions to Claire’s problems, but Claire didn’t want to hear them. So, Phil was confused about the reason why Claire appeared to be so rejective to his suggestions. Later he learnt from his spa friends that what Claire needed were reassuring or comforting statements from her husband instead of a bunch of seemingly practical solutions. The show provided a perfect example of mismatch of support that could frequently happen between couples. To elaborate, mismatch of support refers to the situation in which a person is providing support that his/her spouse doesn’t actually need.
In my final presentation, I used the story in Modern Family to introduce my honor thesis. Most of the audience seemed to understand my research purpose quickly. Particularly, there was one professor who stopped me after my presentation and told me that she would like to read my thesis paper when it is finished because she realized that mismatch of support could sometimes happen in her own life as well. I realized that every research is valuable and there’s always a better way to communicate research to the audience.