Not all students that undergo and complete a BSc will either work directly on the area or dedicate themselves to research. The purpose of completing a higher degree is partly to improve and overcome our own expectations, to know more about the world that is beyond us and to grow ourselves as more educated and conscientious as people.
So, in a way, having this opportunity is a blessing. A true gift! I can still recall the thrill of being for the first time at the university. All the new perspectives, the feeling we had the world in our own hands; a world full of possibilities! Every university has its own agenda. So, as students, we should embrace what each university can provide us.
As a fresh student at the University of Portsmouth I am still learning my ways, but one really amazing thing, especially when you are a student, is the possibility of listening from different researchers or professionals in the area we like the most and understand the range of possibilities we could be headed to or even just to have a better idea of the hot topics going on. An easy way to achieve that is by attending seminars, and it is a great pleasure to understand that our University makes a great effort to provide us with several different ones. You can have a quick look here.
I, as a geology student, attend the SEES seminars, weekly on Thursdays, at 6 pm. I try to go to as many as I can since you never know what cool ideas you could get out of the work that another researcher is producing. Of course, the topic is not always clearly related with my interests or my specific research. However, and especially if you are still an undergraduate student, you never know what you will be working on in a few years, and it might be useful later. And for the time being, it broadens your horizons.
Depending on the School, you might even have an “after party”, a social gathering where people can discuss some ideas and socialize. This will surely happen after a SEES seminar, and at around 7 pm both staff and students will be headed to the Brewhouse and Kitchen, down the Guildhall Walk. It is particularly useful if you want to discuss ideas and ask some questions, either to staff or even the invited lecturer if you are shy or you don’t like to speak out in public. Nonetheless, the purpose for these seminars is to provide a place where people can talk to each other and even make some brainstorming.
In almost two months of Portsmouth, I already had the chance of meeting two different researchers that presented really interesting talks on subjects related with my thesis and afterwards we had the chance to discuss ideas for a long while, which is really great (I feel benefited from it!), enjoying nice beers.
On Wednesdays, for a broader community, we also have the Dynamic Planet Seminars, in Richmond Building at 1 pm and my latest experience was awesome! Even though it was more about hydrology and geography, a kick ass presentation about Antarctica Ice sheet was held and 3D models were presented, so we actually used 3D glasses and we had Antarctica in our room for a few moments!
I still remember how I enjoyed attending Seminars like these in my previous University, but, unfortunately, they were not on a regular basis and the speakers were not often from different parts of the world. Even so, I felt at the time that it was amazing, even though several times, about 80% I couldn’t completely understand and probably 40% I forgot with time.
Have a go, organize your schedule and try to go to as many seminars as possible. ‘Knowledge is never too much’, they say. And you never know what the future is holding.
Have you had a good experience while attending Seminars? Do you find it difficult to keep up? Have a say.