From the moment I received my degree result, and thus an unconditional offer to start my PhD, I was fairly excited for the remainder of the summer. When emails were sent my way regarding accommodation, registration etc. there was rarely an instance when it took me longer than an hour to reply. Now that I think about it, perhaps this was due to having nothing on during August, but I’m sure the keenness had a lot to do with it!
Amongst the masses of emails I received, one was an invitation to the Postgraduate Research Showcase within the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences. The PGR showcase is still in its infancy; the one this September was the second annual event. It is a growingly popular, engaging event that offers an insight into the work of PGR students throughout the faculty and is great way to network in a multi-disciplinary environment. Much like this blog, the content of the PGR showcase is created by PGR students for PGR students, so I signed up and put it in my calendar.
Thursday 11th September came around and I turned up to the event, not too sure what to expect. There was one presentation per institute/school from my faculty, and the presentations were broken up by a break and a buffet lunch, in which there was a poster exhibition. Coming straight from undergraduate study and having not even started my PhD at that time, I quickly developed an overwhelming feeling of being inexperienced. A couple of quotes from my internal monologue of the day: “everyone seems so much more intelligent than myself”, “these guys really know what they’re doing”. These thoughts didn’t exactly ease my apprehension; impostor syndrome, thy name is Adam.
Whilst the presentations were great, the break and lunch were by far the most useful bits of the day for me. No, not just because of the free food. After chatting to many third and fourth year PhD students about their background, their work and how they felt at the beginning of their postgraduate journey, I formed a much more realistic expectation of myself in terms of what needs to be achieved over the next four years to progress from Mr Featherstone to Dr Featherstone.
As a first year PhD student I was very much in the minority at this event, but I would entirely recommend it to any PGR student who can go as the conversations I had were invaluable, the work I saw was fascinating and, well, the food wasn’t bad at all!
Not in MHS? Don’t worry. Last summer saw the first university-wide Research Showcase and it was a huge success. Look out for the 2015 event.
Did anyone else attend this or a similar event and have a story to share? Let us know in the comments or get in touch to submit an article.