I won a bursary a few months ago to attend the ‘Life beyond the PhD‘ conference at Cumberland Lodge, Great Windsor Park. Time has crept up on me and I’m currently blogging from slap bang in the middle of lots of green…its quite peaceful compared to the hustle and bustle of London. I’m also rather enjoying not being woken up by a rogue, intoxicated student on their way home at 4am, or Bin men at 5am.
Its a multi-disciplinary conference, where we literally have students researching Poetry to Psychiatry, there’s even one person studying Comic books. Needless to say its a bit of a culture shock to everyone. Despite that its been fascinating to talk to such a diverse range of people…my room mate is a Marine Biologist who’s been to both the Arctic AND Antarctic, had penguins literally chilling outside her lab, and gets to go diving on a monthly basis. Wow.
We get to hear from people who have completed their PhD and come out the other side to become, for the most part, functional human beings in real jobs, whether they be academic or not. Its really quite interesting to see where a PhD can take you…I’m still on the fence about what to do, but its good to know I have options.
I’ve also learned to think about my Impact (REF 2014 is looming!), my digital profile (check my LinkedIn and Twitter) and hooked myself up with an academia.edu account and downloaded Mendeley. Finally I’ve worked on my speech and breathing skills from a bona fide RADA grad. Phew.
But the big challenge doesn’t come until tomorrow…
Tomorrow is the big presentation.
I’ve not spoken to anyone in any capacity greater than an informal chat about my PhD. But tomorrow I have to speak about my project, coherently, for 10 minutes in front of 30 people…30 non-experts… 30 PhD students from all over the UK who may still think Schizophrenia is ‘multiple personality disorder’ (blasted STIGMA!!)…its back to basics.
‘If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough’ – (possibly from Einstein)
Here’s hoping I understand my PhD well enough to explain it to all the non-experts.