So here I am in Kaunas, Lithuania. I am attending the 6th International Congress of Belarusian Studies, an academic must for researchers studying Belarus. I am here for the first time in a capacity of a PhD student and want to share my work-in-progress.
Feels a bit excited and I do not know what to expect. Well, I need to give a presentation of my paper, that is for sure. There will be some discussion afterwards, that is for sure.
“PhD tends to isolate, to some extent”, I remember I heard that a lot last year, when have just started my PhD programme. Yes, it does, indeed. We often spend hours in libraries, or at other intellectually-friendly places, studying others’ writings. I consider myself lucky, because my research draws on ethnographic methods and I can work with people, and learn from them.
Anyway, from time to time it is good to share our work, even work-in-progress, with others, more experienced. Feedback is priceless. We can learn what have been done rightly, what needs to be enhanced, and, in general, how we are doing scholarly. Feedback can hurt, but does not harm.
Let’s see what more experienced scholars have shared with me.
A few extracts from what I have heard:
“This is just a conference. You go, present your stuff and then discuss it. You can learn for free what is wrong with it. So appreciate it”.
“You need to relax and just do your best. This is just a part of being in an academic community. We, researchers, need to communicate with each other. Conferences are great places to do that”.
“Do networking there. Don’t isolate yourself. Come out of your “cave”. Conferences allow you to meet new people, scholars, often dealing with similar subjects to yours. Go and speak to them, use the fact that they are happy to discuss your research. Do you have a business cardon you?”.
And last, but not least:
“Attending conferences is usually fun and it involves travelling.Enjoy your stay in Kaunas!”
It does sound inviting, doesn’t it? I will experience it myself tomorrow. Now I need to brush up my power point presentation with main talking points. And I, definitely, will share my insights and pictures on blog.
Anyway, please keep your fingers crossed for me!