May 13, 2018, by Shweta
Baby Steps: Presenting at a National Conference
The initial part of the title may confuse those who are familiar with my blog. However, with finals coming up soon and my metaphorical creative juice supply running low, I decided to start a mini-series called ‘Baby Steps’. Over the next few weeks, I will document all the little firsts I’ve experienced in my time at university and how all those little steps have brought me to where I am today.
To begin with, I thought I’d talk about my very first time speaking at a national conference. Last Friday, I was given the opportunity to represent PsychStart, a new scheme that my colleagues and I are working on, at the Medical Education Conference in Nottingham. To say that this was a dream come true would be an understatement! In my first semester at university in 2016, a few friends and I headed off to Leicester to attend the East Midlands Student Research Conference. There, I saw some of the 3rd year medical students from UoN present their research and even win awards. On that day, I promised myself that I would someday stand up in front of a similar honourable audience and speak passionately about something that I had worked on. Never in a million years did I think that I would achieve that within a year’s time.
While I was no stranger to public speaking, the thought of standing up in front of some of the biggest names in medical education and NHS Nottinghamshire had me quite nervous. Fortunately, my passion for PsychStart and everything that our team had worked for overruled all the fear in me. That’s not to say that that wasn’t the longest 10 minutes of my life. As the conference ended, multiple doctors, medical directors and other guests came up to me, striking up conversation and speaking highly of my little speech. The encouragement and love I received from each and every one of them will stay with me for a very long time and I know that the next time I hear my heart pounding in the seconds leading up to a big presentation, their words will keep me going.
I know this whole blog post has sounded a bit like a brag and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t need some of that self-confidence right now (Side note: exam season is painful). However, the reason I wanted to share this experience with you is because I want all of you to realise that nothing is just a dream if you work hard enough. And no matter how scary or far off something may seem, it is in the pipeline for you if you believe in yourself.
Now, I think that’s enough cliché motivation for one day. That brings us to the end of the very first post in ‘Baby Steps’. I hope that this series will continue to inspire all of you to reflect on the years gone by and to celebrate the people that you were, are and will be.