Throwback Thursday – My first symposium (November 2013)

After two poster presentations last week, this week’s #throwbackthursday is a timely look back at the first event I presented at, back in November 2013.

On the 28th and 29th November I attended the British Ecological Society Moving on to a PhD and Mastering Ecology Symposium, for advice on PhDs and the opportunity to present my Masters research. This was the first Symposium I have presented at and although I had to give a presentation of my work during my MSc this was to a much larger group of people I had not met before. I was very anxious, with one half of me saying “why are you putting yourself through this?” and the other half “it’s good for you and will get easier the more you do it”. Thankfully fellow Soil Biodiversity Group volunteer Fez was also at the Symposium presenting a poster of her work on termites in Wallacea which was a confidence boost.

Fez and I with our Soil Biodiversity Group posters at the British Ecological Society Mastering Ecology Symposium

The talk was both the fastest and slowest five minutes of my life! It went by in a blur. Feedback however was not too bad, considering how scared I was, hopefully next time it will get better and maybe one day I will be as confident as my university lecturers etc.

Two years on I have done many more poster presentations and talks, including an hour long presentation to the Selborne Society on life in soil. I am still very anxious but each one does get better, and it is big improvement from my years as an undergraduate when I could not even walk into a room of people without a panic attack. For a brief moment during my last two talks I even had a moment when I was enjoying it! Best of all, my supervisors have commented on how much more confident I seem when talking, especially when answering questions. Advice for those who don’t like public speaking (which is practically everyone): keep at it.

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