Writing a PhD is often viewed as an isolated and lonely endeavour (and at times it can be), but attending academic conferences, where sometimes hundreds of academics, PhD students, seminal authors and journal editors gather together affords opportunities to network, present papers, and receive useful feedback in some exotic and interesting locations! While this process might seem daunting, and at times terrifying (no really it can be), you can ultimately leave conference with greater confidence in your abilities, your ideas, and with an improved understanding of the latest trends and emerging ideas in your field! Over the next weeks and months, I will be adding sections to this blog, detailing my conference experiences, the highs, the lows, and hopefully some useful suggestions.
Over the course of my PhD, I have been lucky enough to attend four conferences (one industry, and three academic), two in my first year, one in my second, and one in my third. Although there perhaps is never a ‘bad’ time to attend a conference, there are definitely times when benefits from attendance can be maximised, and indeed, the type of conference can be dependent on your stage of study.