Matt, James and I just returned from Melbourne where we attended my first Experimental Psychology Conference, and it has been one of the best experiences of my life! I had my nerves tested when I presented some data to a packed lecture theatre of academics from Australia and New Zealand, and then I had my liver tested when I celebrated my presentation on the first night, the conference dinner on the second night, and the goodbye party on the final night!
As great as some of the science discussions were, what really made the experience for me was all the crazy interactions outside of the conference. The conference dinner was certainly a highlight - a room full of experimental psychologists with a never-ending amount of beer, wine, and champagne... My abs got a great workout from laughing at all the things coming from academics' mouths!
As if partying until 4am with renowned academics wasn’t enough (one academic even stayed out until 6.30am on the morning of his own presentation!), but we also got to see what PhD students from other universities were like. They were all great - talking to students from Victoria and Western Australia for the first time was as easy as talking to my old friends down the hall at UQ. For example, at one bar where we were surrounded by people dressed in suits and drinking expensive wines, I spent 30 minutes talking with a student from the University of Western Australia about whether or not to include error bars on graphs! That’s pretty special (albeit extremely nerdy).
The UWA girls with Matt and I. From left: Matt, Rachel, Kat, Vanessa, and me.
I think the best part of the conference was the range of experience of the young researchers. Research assistants, Honours, Masters and PhD students all got involved, and all were really impressive. If you hear about a conference coming up that is in your area of interest - find a way to go! You don’t even need to present data - you can just go and see the sort of research being done by other people and make new contacts.
Three days later I’m still exhausted and I feel like I haven’t slept for a year. But it was all worth it - I’ve made some great new friends with students and academics, and I got some great feedback about my own research. It was also great fun to share this experience with two friends, Matt and James, and it makes me wonder what we’ll get up to in the future!
James and me... this must have been one of the 4am moments!
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