A Day In The Life Of A PhD: What? I’m Meant to Talk to People? 

Well it’s been awhile since I last posted, got distracted with work, like buried in a metric fuck tonne of work. I’m getting that excuse in now, nice and early, there are plenty of other reasons why too… it’s been a busy month or so. Had an eventful trip to Narnia, fought Sauron, became a Somalian pirate and blew up the Death Star. That’s not even including the time I’ve spent playing Crash Bandicoot… 

Not even ashamed.

So I’m pretty sure at this point you’d be pretty settled into studying your chosen field, first year is certainly the time to find your feet. By this I mean, try to understand what is going on and just nod whilst saying yes. Ask as many questions as you can so you understand. Like I’ve said before your supervisor/lecturer/boss is just a person…

After a while, generally around Christmas/Summer time, you hit a certain season… no it’s not the football transfer window. It’s conference season. Conference season is either hell or heaven, depends how sociable you are… they revolve around networking. Yes, this means that you actually have to appear intelligent and intellectual… and you have to speak to people, my god I’m shite at it. I’m more focused on the buffet. Free food, what’s better? 

Stock image of Buffet.

I can confirm that the buffet will not look like that. It’s worse, but a few top tips:

  • Stack your plate high
  • Stack it well, got to have a good base to your plate
  • Always try for two servings. 

These tips can be used in actual buffet restaurants too. 

Going back the main point, networking suits some, you can use it to your advantage, maybe even snag some work from it, so it is good. What on earth do you say though? Either way, make it seem like the sun shines from your arse. Be the nerd you’ve always known you are!! Or if you like me, eat like a pig and attempt to be civil. 

Regarding a previous post, the office dickhead generally thrives in conferences, they become the conference know it all, they will quiz you and try to undermine what you do. Knob head.

Networking, really?
However, when you are sent away to distant far away lands to conferences, you may be faced with something more exciting than ever before… freebies. Yes you heard, freebies. Remember freshers, stuff like that but worse. So what I’m gonna do is review the top 5 freebies you’re most likely to get from a conference. Here goes: 

  1. Pens

Everybody needs these, often get branded pens and they’re generally quite good. Like the pens you think are too expensive in WHSmith, these little shits are being given away for free. Grab a few to stock your desk, remember it’s free. Solid rating for these. 5/7

  1. USB sticks.

Generally filled with crap from the supplier, however good once that stuff is deleted. Can back up your thesis in another place, often only one per person, so grab one, two if you’re a sneaky little sausage. 4/7 (often filled with shit)

  1. Highlighters

I know these may be covered by pens but you can often pick up one of those star highlighters with loads of colours, they’re shit but they are fancy af. But if you can get a cheeky Stabilo, you’re onto a winner. 3/7

  1. Canvas bags

Apparently these are the must have, straight off the catwalks of weird conferences. Good for putting things in, I think? I’d rate these low on the scale. 1/7

  1. Assorted stationary

This covers any type office type thing not already mentioned. Rating as an overall for this is 2/7.

Special freebies may be on offer, be careful, these are the ones where you have to seem interested to the vendor. Engage them in mild conversation and then take as many as you can. These special items can include shot glasses, mouse mats and maybe even a Rubik’s cube. For that purpose these are limited and rated a steady 5.4/7.

Now your bag is full of freebies, you’re tired and mentally drained from trying to seem clever. You now have the mixer, this is where you can actually get to know the people there, best thing is… they often include beer and wine. That’s free. Don’t get to sizzled… or try not to anyway, I often make the mistake of walking past them empty handed, and being given one… this happens 5-6 times, so coincidental? I even once took a four pack of corona home when the organisers weren’t looking… whoops! 

As I’m writing this I’m currently in a talk about weird computerised chemistry things… I should probably pay attention but oh well! After it’s a week long so let’s get to it!

So conferences help you talk to people, and get your work out there, use them wisely and try not to nap or fall asleep, I have done that, not cool apparently?

“I take a nap right here” Nap girl meme, 2017.


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