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Five reasons why academic conferences are essential

Academic conferences are an important part of the PhD journey. However, they can also seem overwhelming. Here are five essential pointers that dispel the myths of conferences, and why every PhD student needs to attend one.

An academic giving a conference

Whether you’re considering or have begun PhD study, you’d have heard all about academic conferences. They are usually in academic institutions of international repute. In one corner, legendary academics discuss their findings with prominent researchers. In another, high-quality presentations of innovative new findings are being prepped.

It’s no surprise that people find them one of the scarier prospects of the PhD package.

However, there is no reason to feel apprehensive. In fact, academic conferences are one of the most beneficial parts of the journey to becoming a doctor. Here’s five reasons why it’s time to shake off those fears and book your first conference.

1). You meet the right people

The core component of an academic conference is new research. Often, academics and PhD students will showcase ground-breaking findings through papers and presentations. While that may seem a scary prospect, it’s an ideal opportunity to network with people within your field.

If you’re finding yourself spending a lot of time in the lab or library, the chance to make valuable contacts and ask your peers important questions is not to be missed.

2). You overcome your fears

Presentations are scary. No matter what industry you work or study in, everyone finds getting up and speaking to a room daunting. But the best way to get out of this cycle is to face your fears.

At an academic conference, you are all there for the same reason – to learn. It’s the perfect opportunity to generate new thoughts, share ideas and gain fresh insight.

3). You identify what is – and what isn’t – working

While your tutors will provide support, sometimes a PhD can be quite lonely. That can be a problem when you’re unsure of your ideas.

Academic conferences usually include practical workshops, where you can test out new information in a supportive environment. It will also allow you to gain greater clarity in your own mind about your thesis, particularly in terms of keeping it clear and engaging.

4). You learn new things

Want to identify the latest research trends in your field? An academic conference is the perfect gateway to the information you need. Often, researchers will premiere their ideas and findings at conferences – something you won’t get from a publication.

Furthermore, don’t fear your queries will go unanswered. Most talks are followed by Q&A sessions, which usually result in some vital and exciting responses.

5). You get to see new places

It’s not all work, work, work.

Academic conferences take place around the world. Often, they are housed in breath-taking institutions in some of the globe’s most stimulating locations. Funding permitting, you could find yourself travelling to a number of eclectic areas.

Before you head out, plan your extracurricular activities to ensure you make the most of your stay.