Let’s Try This International Conference Thing

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Spot the difference from two posts ago: i) Dressed for about 20 degrees worth of temperature difference ii) Jumped up on coffee in attempt to compensate from jet lag iii) THERE IS ACTUAL DATA ON MY POSTER

This picture was actually taken a month ago, at the Society for Melanoma Research conference in Philadelphia. I would say I haven’t written anything since then because I’ve been flat out, but that would be a lie. I’ve been having some motivational issues.

Anyway, my first international conference went OK: no one told me I was wasting my time, or that my project sounded dumb etc. But then again, I didn’t win any prizes, no one came to seek me out to talk about my project or poster and no one was studying anything remotely similar to me…so maybe it didn’t go too well after all. I don’t know what I expected to happen at the conference, or what even happens when a conference ‘goes well’, but it didn’t make me feel amazing about getting started on my first year viva/ confirmation process/ progress report thingy, which I’ve told my supervisor I’ll get to her in January.

It felt as though 98% of the projects being spoken about were regarding One Thing, and that One Thing has nothing to do with my project. Because I attended the conference with my research group, (who aren’t studying this One Thing either)  it just felt like a bit of a running joke at a time. But now I’ve walked away (and haven’t really debriefed with everyone about how they felt it went: I’m back home in a different country to them until January), it doesn’t feel like a joke. I can interpret it in one of two ways: i) Everyone else is really short sighted and the melanoma research community needs to (re)broaden their horizons OR ii) I am on the wrong track and I need to UN-broaden my horizons because ACTUALLY the correct pathway for melanoma advancement has already been found, but I am not on it.

I’m supposed to be working on this document but half the struggle is just getting the words down, when I feel as though, if a random melanoma researcher was reading over my shoulder, then my ideas would be laughable to them.

I don’t know how anyone can ever deal with these feelings of inadequacy: obviously I just need to start being more arrogant.

10 Ways To Avoid Discussing Your (Bad) Poster At A Conference

1. Pretend to be deaf.

2. Pretend to be blind. 

3. (If necessary) Pretend to be deaf and blind.

4. Print your poster in various shades of black.

5. Don’t shower.

6. Wear a t-shirt made out of your poster so as to be camouflaged against it.

7. Print your poster in Wingdings.

8. Ensure your mouth is constantly full of food, making “just wait” motions to whoever asks you a question throughout each mouthful, yet replacing said mouthful immediately once it has been swallowed.

9. Print your availability/ contact cards in the format of an extensive Treasure Hunt.

10. Get black-out drunk.