I had the honor on Saturday of sitting in to listen to Jenni and eight of her fellow students give a 10-minute presentation and 15-minute defense of her thesis paper.
I read Jenni’s paper, as I have with a lot of papers Jenni has written for school over the last five years. And it was intelligent, well-reasoned, well-written, and academic without being pompous, and demonstrated a strong grasp of her topic. I was impressed.
Then I saw her talk about it.
Sure, I’m expected to fall in line behind her and support her, and hell yeah, I’ll do that because I adore her. But that isn’t necessary here. She spoke eloquently about her topic, and defended it to the questions asked even better. She projected the passion she has about the topic, to the point that I don’t think anyone in the room doubted she firmly believes what she was saying. She spoke confidently. She spoke exactly to the point, leaving no room for fluff of hyperbole. And she spoke smartly.
There are lots of people in this world who work to sound smart, but aren’t nearly as smart as they sound–probably me included in that number from time to time. But in a room filled with smart people, Jenni stood out. I’d been hearing her practice her presentation, and had read the paper, so I didn’t think I could be surprised by any of it, but I was. My amazing wife really nailed it, and would leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that she wasn’t fully capable of handling her subject matter.
I never had doubts that she is smart, or could do Master’s level work. But it’s a daunting enough challenge without interjecting something as complicated as religion into it. Add to that having to juggle a job or two, a family and all of the classwork, and it’s easy to be doubly impressed. It’s all one hell of an accomplishment. I’ve congratulated her before, but she deserves it again.
It’s basically over–she’s only got an exit interview and the actual ceremony to go through now. It’s a time for her to relish what she’s achieved and to enjoy the praise bestowed upon her. And deservedly so.
Because regardless of how smart she was before, she’s kicked it up to another level. There is no question: Jenni is very, very smart.
See you tomorrow.