This is my first blog post covering my experiences of the Biophysical meeting, which will be the first major conference I’ll be attending. I’m really excited about the meeting because this is also the first time I’ll be presenting a poster! These are my thoughts as I prepare for my poster
Seven days before the poster
“Seven dollars for the bus to Philly”
Like several of the conference attendees, I and my lab will be traveling to Philadelphia on Boltbus. These buses with their affordable fares are a great convenience for students, especially for the ones who do not drive (like me). These bus fares almost make me less jealous of my friends who are scheduled to attend conferences in Hawaii or California (I am not a fan of cold weather). However I realized that since there are no beaches I can escape to, I should be able to attend more talks and meetings and learn a great deal more about Biophysics when it’s cold outside. Since I love history, I am very happy that the meeting will be in one of the oldest cities in the USA. Because I have already seen the touristy spots in Philly, I want to explore some hidden treasures of that city. And who knows, I might try to touch the Liberty Bell this time!!
Six days before the poster
“Six unread papers”
Before the holidays, I printed out a bunch of really interesting papers that I wanted to read during the holidays. Unfortunately (thanks to Netflix!), these papers remained unread until now, taunting me whenever I passed them. Since I have not been taking any classes for a while now, I think I lost access to my exam mode, where I was able to acquire a large amount of information in a short time. I hope that being grilled in the Biophysical meeting will fix that for me!
Five days before the poster
“Five PowerPoint drafts”
I was almost done with my poster by this time. As this was my first ever poster, I had to figure out how to make a poster and what I should put in it and it took time for. I had my data scattered across my laptop and my office computer and I realized that not compiling them gave me a lot of problems when I was trying to make the graphs. I also realized that working on a poster on two systems which used different units of measurement (metric and inches) is a major annoyance when you want the figures to be of the same size. All this confusion resulted in me creating multiple PowerPoint files just to be sure and by the time I included my PI’s corrections, I was already on my fifth file, which I eventually decided to use as my final draft.
Four days before the poster
“Four color tones”
The task of choosing color tones for my poster took surprisingly long. First, I had to choose between several different color combinations available on PowerPoint, which ranged from gorgeous to hideously loud. Then I had to co-ordinate colors between PowerPoint and SigmaPlot where I made my figures.
Three days before the poster
“Three typos on my poster”
After much procrastination, I finally printed my poster today. As the poster was printing, I was so excited that I wondered if this is how soon-to-be fathers felt as they waited for the birth of their child. As soon as the printing was done, I held my brand new baby oops, poster in with both pride and wonder: the poster looked so much better in print than on PowerPoint. Suddenly I realized that I need to practice presenting my poster for the competition, so I quickly pinned the poster to the wall, grabbed a large serological pipette to use as a pointer and started rehearsing my talk. Unfortunately, my lack of practice hit me hard and it took me almost an hour to (almost) figure out an outline for my talk and also for me to notice few mistakes across the poster (shh!). Eventually, I managed to make my labmates endure my practice talk after which promised myself that I would rehearse at home. That did not happen as I decided to write my first ever blog post :).
Two days before the poster
The “three typos” which I saw the previous day turned out to be just the tip of the iceberg and I decided to print another poster altogether. What I did not expect was the stress I felt when I was about to print my second poster. I guess when printing for the second time, I needed things to be really right. After staring at the poster for over 2 hours, I was done nitpicking and promptly printed out the poster. I did not have the same level of excitement I had when I printed it out the first time but I was so relieved when I put the poster in the box- I was done with the poster !! Time to go to Philly!