self-dissection: a petchakucha



Hello! My name is Maria McGlashan, and I love to make myself uncomfortable. This is fairly obvious at this point; not only did I decide to push through AP in my grade 12 year, but I am also here, baring my soul to the world wide web. In all seriousness, I have always felt that comfort is the enemy of progress. A little discomfort means I am always finding ways to improve. If I settle, life becomes a certainty rather than a gift, and I forget to appreciate what I have.


Appreciating the world, yes, can mean being grateful for the roof over your head and the feet in your shoes, but that is not my brand of appreciation. The bits of the world I appreciate are the grubby, the gross, and the unconventional – bits like bugs. I firmly believe that beauty and joy can and should be found everywhere, and I’m honestly not sure how people survive the day without romanticizing everything.


Science is one of my biggest sources of unconventional joy. Just like everyone else in this class, I read Frankenstein over the summer, but I just couldn’t bring myself to dislike Victor as much as I knew I should. When he talked about the joy of knowing, the thrill of discovery, and the desire to understand all that you can about the world, it touched my little science kid heart. Sometimes, I felt like I was reading my own internal monologue.


Yet another connection I share with Victor is my rampant perfectionism. I used to pray to the stationary gods that my notes would look like this (I even had to block the tag for a while to keep from obsessing over it). Being a perfectionist can be a tad cumbersome, since nothing can ever truly be done as long as there is still room for error. However, at the end of the day, I know that my faulty perfectionist brain ensures that all my work is the absolute best it can be. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.


I said I felt for Victor, but I promise there are no abandoned sentient science experiments in my future. As much as I am a logical person, I am the world’s biggest mom. Somehow, at 17, I am the proud parent of roughly 15 children, all also 17. I always carry band-aids and extra snacks, and I am ready with a you-should-take-better-care-of-yourself lecture at the drop of a hat. Caring for the people in my life is the best way I know of to show them just how much they mean to me.


All of my mom-ing is probably a side effect of how close I am with my own mom. Growing up, we were basically inseparable, with me being an only child, and her a single mom. She taught me to be respectful, compassionate, to be unapologetically myself, and that giving up was never an option. Plus, she allowed me room to grow alone and become who I wanted to be. I have her to thank for the most vital parts of me.


Hard work’s value was taught to me by my mother, but it’s become a part of my philosophy. This is a real picture of my bed while working on this project, and it is far from abnormal in my house. I respect the kids who bust it for 50s more than the kids who can get easy 90s, because there is nothing more rewarding than knowing you earned something. Obviously, what is pictured above is what most of us picture as hard work, but for me, putting in 100% applies to more than just schoolwork.


I am an introvert naturally, so going out and being around people takes a tremendous amount of effort for me. When I’m with friends, I am loud. I am dramatic. I am outgoing. If I don’t wake up the next day with a bit of a sore throat, I’m not satisfied. I want to milk my time for all that it is worth, because I am acutely aware of my own limits.


Once my social battery runs dry, I need time to recuperate alone. My little introverted heart needs to sit in her room and play the Sims 4 until her eyes get sore, and not have to deal with expectations for a little while. Despite all the joy that can come from other people, being out means pressure, and pressure is draining. Sometimes it is little pressures like carrying a conversation, but sometimes it is the painful awareness that someone is looking at you. 


Looking the way I look and acting the way I act means that I tend to be a bit of a spectacle. When I was younger, I used to resent my differences, and I would try to force myself to fit better into a box. Still, even with a normal haircut, I couldn’t help my own oddness. It is as much a part of me as all my other passions and personality, and today I own my otherness. Like me or not, I am proud that I make an impression on every single person I meet. I hope that this time, that impression was a good one.



  • Featured image – yumeji. “An atlas moth crawling on hand.” tumblr,
  • Image one – “Grass,Silhouette,Symmetry.” kissCC0,
  • Image two – Themothdream. “A Moth Sitting on Top of a Female Hand, Black Background.” The Headless Star, Themothdream, 26 Oct. 2017,
  • Image three – Brie. “Black and White Ink Drawing of Victor Frankenstein Holding a Brain.” Pinterest,
  • Image four – Pous, Terri, and Kafkanotes. “A Page of Well Organized Notes Featuring Notes on the Microscope and Cell Behaviour.” Buzzfeed,
  • Image five – “Drawing of a Pair of Hands Covered in Band-Aids and Plants.” Vippng,
  • Image six – personal photo
  • Image seven – personal photo
  • Image eight – original artwork
  • Image nine – original artwork
  • Image ten – original artwork
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10 thoughts on “self-dissection: a petchakucha

  1. Dear Maria,

    You truly have made an impression on me! The depth and quality of your writing, as well as your sheer honesty, is such an inspiration to me. Like you, I am also an introvert and I really connected with the idea of needing to recharge one’s social battery. I could not have described that feeling any better. It has been such an honour getting to know you and this introduction has made me excited to become closer with you. Every part of you PechaKucha was absolutely phenomenal; my favourite part was how you could find beauty and joy everywhere, especially in the things people often find disgusting. One piece of feedback I have for you, and I can honestly say I spent a while thinking of something, is I would have loved to know the why behind some of your stories. Why you adore science so much or why you feel the need to be an extrovert around others. As a reader, knowing the reason behind the writing allows me to understand and connect better with the author. You talked about baring your soul, and this would encourage you to do a little more of that. Thank you so much for blessing everyone with your words.


    1. Lexi,

      Thank you so much! I’m glad that some of my experience resonated with you; being social is something that rarely comes easy to any of us, and I think talking about it makes it feel a little less odd. In terms of room for growth, I always find myself falling into the same patterns of closing off before I get too personal when I write. I really need reminders like these that being true and open adds impact to my writing. Thanks again for taking the time to leave your kind words. :))


  2. Dear Maria,

    Though the featured image of this post did creep me out a bit, every inkling of this presentation was so clearly thought out. I admire your ability to apply immense intention behind every word say, and though you do call yourself a blabber, I felt you were so concise in both your presentation and writing portions of this assignment. The way you expertly tied each slide together made the whole PechaKucha incredibly pleasing to read. I also would like to applaud you for your attention to every detail when you presented this in class (especially for the last three pictures) as when you switched sides you showed us exactly how contrasting your personality tends to be, as I’m sure we can all relate to.

    I would’ve loved to see the theme of discomfort and your passion for it to be tied throughout the presentation or even to be resurfaced in the conclusion. When I opened this post (even though I already saw your presentation) I prepared myself for an exploration of what makes others uncomfortable and that feeling was soon lost after the second slide. To do this I would incorporate your idea of, “A little discomfort means I am always finding ways to improve.” into your extroverted portion of your piece.

    I really look up to you, and the moment I found out you were in my family group I got super excited. I hope to learn lots from you over this semester and rest of the year!


    1. Luca,

      Thank you so much! I tend to put extra stock into details like flow and physical presence when I do presentations, so it’s nice to have someone notice the extra touches I threw in. However, in moving so quickly from slide to slide, I did feel like I was lacking depth in each individual topic, and I definitely think I could have tied my ideas together more instead of treating them each as independent units. Unity is part of what makes pieces feel whole, so I will pay attention to this in the future. Thank you for your feedback, and I can’t wait to work with you for the rest of the year!


  3. Dear Maria,
    I can assure you the impression you made was a good one with me and probably the rest of the class. You effectively made it clear what you are and what you stand for in such a welcoming matter that even people like me who couldn’t relate to some of the things stated was intrigued by your words. Every picture you used made it even more clear what you tried to say, and it all came together like a perfect fifth. (It’s two notes that sound really good together, even if you don’t like music.)
    One thing I would suggest is giving more examples in what you mean. For example, you mentioned how you like to be a mother-ish person. Give examples as to why to further the depth of your personality.
    However, all things said and done, I’m excited to take notes from you over the semester of AP. As you said in my post, we’re complete opposites and a lot of things I need to work on are things I can learn from you.

    1. Jimmy,

      Thank you! I feel like I often pigeonhole myself too much in get-to-know-me activities, so I tried my best to make sure that everyone could connect with me, even if they don’t share my interests. I agree that I skimmed the surface a bit with my slides, instead of using the time to delve deep into the role all of this plays in my life. Examples ground concepts, and I will make sure to keep that in mind when we write that critical on Thursday. Thank you for taking the time to write me this comment, and I’m amped to work with you for the rest of the semester!


  4. Dear Maria,

    I am absolutely blown away by the overall quality of this post. It seems to me like you are the only person who can consistenly one-up yourself, and I absoltuely admire you for the amount of preparation and practice that must have gone into making this as magnificent as it is. People often talk about the probability of creating the Mona Lisa from just throwing paint at the wall, but you have proven to us that a masterpiece can be done with hard work instead of random luck.
    I really enjoyed the order of your slides: starting off with basic things that may not be extremely profound, and then delving into the beauty that makes you who your are. Although someone as interesting as you must’ve had a lot of potential things to say, all of your slides were relevant and flowed together perfectly. I wouldn’t say I knew too much about you before this presentation, but your Pechakucha made me feel like I was a welcome friend who you were sharing your life experiences with.
    As someone who is extroverted on the outside, I found it interesting the way you described needing to recharge yourself through peaceful alone time. Overall, the best thing I’d say about this piece is it’s duality in exploring you. As a reader, I get an explanation as to the nature of you as a confident and outgoing person, but also your struggles with social pressures and life in general.
    The only nitpicking I can do here is with the length of your writing. I know that there’s a strict time limit when presenting, but I loved your writing so much that I wish that there was a little bit more of it on a few more slides.
    In short, I can’t imagine you leaving anything but an amazing impression on anyone. Please keep writing so I can be inspired all over again.

    Yours in admiration,


    1. Zaid,

      What a way to end my weekend. This comment warmed my heart so much, and I can’t thank you enough for your praise. I poured a lot of heart into this presentation, so having someone who I have so much respect for recognize that makes all the panicked repetition worthwhile. The format was a little tough for me, since there is nothing I love more than a long, drawn out deep dive into a concept, and I do wish that I had chosen less topics and put a little bit more substance behind the ones I selected. I will do my best not to spread myself too thin going forward.
      I tend to fall back on the old 80s-movie-nerd standby for get to know me presentations, so I am so glad that my attempt to show a bit more of myself than normal worked. I’m so happy that you feel like you know me a little better, and I can’t wait to get to know you and your insights even more over the course of the year.


  5. My Maria:

    With every bit of me I love you. You constantly inspire me to embrace my differences in a world that wants me to be BASIC (yuck!).

    I vividly recall this piece being presented in class and the smile that no one could wipe off my face. I can listen to you speak, read your writing, or hold a conversation for days and days and days. This piece was just a reminder of that fact. I love how detailed this blog is, while also being concise. I think that someone needs to reach a certain level of self awareness (maybe level 100) to be able to clearly speak about themselves and their values with such eloquence. I believe that your transparency in your writing and personality allows the audience to gain understanding of who you are and why you are – a pleasure that everyone should have the chance to experience. I am genuinely so excited to learn so much from you during our last year together </3. Also, mad respect for including original artwork.

    I am honestly trying my best to think of good advice for improvements, but I really can't. I keep going back to read and hardcore analyze for something I can critique. Maybe one day I will be able to give worthy suggestions of improvement.

    Maria, you never cease to inspire me to be a better person. I thank you so much.

    Love you forever and always,
    mia 🙂

    1. Mia,

      I can’t thank you enough for your praise. The fact that you saw the vulnerability I tried to ingrain into this presentation makes me feel so proud of this work, and I am humbled by your words about self awareness. Knowing myself is the biggest challenge I face, so your statement means the world. Ever since 10AP, the way your brain works has inspired me so much in my writing. I hope you never, ever succumb to the high school hive. The loss of a mind like yours would be practically criminal.


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