Yesterday, I had the opportunity to present my dissertation research at Showcasing Undergraduate Research Excellence (SURE) conference at Bournemouth University. Even though it was an amazing experience, I was terrified most of the time. What if I forget my lines? What if people don’t like my research? So many “What if” questions were in my head.
Students had the chance to present any research they have done while studying at BU, but I decided to submit my dissertation research. On the day I applied to the conference, I had only an abstract and a faint idea of what I was going to do in the following months. It was a work in-progress and it still is. I presented initial findings, because I have done only two interviews. However, I got really helpful feedback and tips, which I can use for my dissertation now.
This conference also helped me to overcome my fear of presenting my own work. I usually don’t have stage fright, but showing an unfinished research was making me nervous. But it was a great presentation (once it was over and I was able to breathe again). I realised that this conference is not a competition, but a chance for students to put themselves out in front of an audience. And I’m very glad I did. Also, it’s a preparation for my dissertation conference in May, which is a part of my mark.
I would strongly recommend to students to showcase their work in front of an audience if possible. Doing presentations helps you to overcome your fear of public speaking and improves your communication skills. Also, it’s a very effective way of getting feedback on your work.
Next stop: BCUR
When I applied to SURE conference, I also submitted my topic to the British Conference of Undergraduate Research (BCUR) that will take place in April in Wales. There will be over 500 students from all over the UK, presenting their studies. Now, that might give me a stage fright. Hopefully, I will have more findings to present on that conference, which is my last chance of getting feedback before submitting my dissertation in May. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
Stepping out of your comfort zone is not easy. Networking, public speaking, presenting; these are all normal fears that shouldn’t prevent you from developing your skills. Everyone can overcome those fears, even if you start with baby steps. Connect with people on social media and start a conversation. Go to industry events and meet new people. Share your work with other people and spark a discussion. Step out of your comfort zone and let the magic happen.
On the eve before International Women’s Day, I am looking at the two campaigns that got my attention since the beginning of this year. Two campaigns overtaking the news and the social media engagement. Two brands trying to change our culture.
Gillette’s new advert about the dangers of toxic masculinity and the importance of setting a good example for young boys has sparked a heated debate online, with some describing it as an “amazing call to action”. Others thought it’s a campaign shaming masculinity and boycotted the brand (most notably Piers Morgan, who possibly didn’t recover from the vegan sausage roll). But, there are no excuses for bullying and harassment, no matter the gender. ‘Boys will be boys’ is a saying that needs to stay in the past. I believe that Gillette took a risk and won the young generation. It took a stand for GenZ and Millennials. By joining the #MeToo movement, the brand captured a new market.
Recently, Nike released its new campaign, showing what ‘crazy’ sportswomen can do. Being emotional and fighting for equality are labelled as wrong. Every time a woman does something that society has predetermined for men, she is deemed crazy. Crazy for thinking she’s good enough. Crazy for thinking she can. Crazy for thinking she has a purpose. Serena Williams, who is one of the greatest athletes, narrates the ad in order to empower women. To motivate young girls to follow their dreams, no matter how ‘crazy’ they can be.
And crazy is not just part of the sport sector. Just take a look at the entertainment industry. Lady Gaga, who was bullied while being at university, achieved something unimaginable. In one year, she won Oscar, BAFTA, Grammy and Golden Globe. Crazy? I don’t think so. It’s called determination and persistence. It’s about not giving up.
Dream Crazier should be applied to the PR industry as well. To all those women, who are afraid to apply to that senior position because it’s a man’s role: Just Do It! Believe in yourselves and show everyone what ‘crazy’ can do.
Mad Hatter: Am I going mad?
Alice: Yes, you're mad, bonkers, off the top of your head...but...I'll tell you a secret.
All the best people are.
(Alice in Wonderland)
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