As a graduate student, I always imagined academic conferences to be a seriously somber practice where professors defended their best work to a room of enlightened and brilliant scholars. When I first started my PhD program, attending academic conferences was so far from my mind, I never imagined myself traveling across the country to defend my work.
Minutes before I actually presented my first conference paper, I went into the nearest restroom to throw up. Sick with anxiety, my stomach had been in knots all morning. Unfortunately, the anxiety caught up with me minutes before my panel was scheduled to begin. Although my mentors had let me know what to expect, I was still dealing with the unknown. Presenting a paper in front of brilliant minds, faced with the tough questions; the thought of presenting at an academic conference was overwhelming as a second year graduate student.
In reality, academic conferences were never as horrible as I had envisioned them that first time. Panelists, chairs, discussants, and audience members have never been discouraging. In fact, I rarely walk away from a conference without being inspired to work harder. Presenting a conference paper has been a useful way to recalibrate myself, encouraged by the words and ideas of like-minded colleagues.
Since that first presentation, I have always looked forward to academic conferences. Even my first conference did not come as a total loss. Because of my anxiety, I learned that it is important to comprehensively prepare for an academic conferences during graduate Generic Viagra school. The following are some good practices I’ve learned in prepping for academic conferences:
- Seminar Papers. Keep an eye out for promising seminar papers to develop into conference papers. While seminar papers typically do not ask you to develop original research, you can knock out half the work by transforming an already written paper for a conference.
- Brainstorm. When applying for a conference, create a Word document and type out all your ideas about the paper. Typically, we tend to ignore the conference paper for months after submitting an abstract. Writing these ideas out will refresh your mind when you finally start to work on the paper.
- Timeline. Develop a timeline alongside your proposal. The timeline is only for you, but it helps to keep you honest. Create alerts on your calendar to remind you of your benchmarks.
- Department Talks. Volunteer to give a brown bag in your department. Your department will be encouraging and understanding about developing projects. Work out the kinks in your presentation before arriving for the conference.
- Finish early. It is an unspoken convention that everyone waits until the absolute last minute to write a conference paper. Avoid getting into this habit. It only adds to the anxiety and if you have yet to present at many conferences, the anxiety will be overwhelming.
- Think outside the presentation. Conferences are not only about your paper presentation! Spend some time thinking about other panels and catching up with colleagues. It is okay to have fun at academic conferences!