I attended the International Data and Information Management Conference in Loughborough (England) this week. The conference was a great opportunity to meet with other information science researchers – and to present my own research. But it was also a great opportunity to win back some of my academic self-esteem and self-confidence.
There were four potential prizes for the conference: Best paper, best poster, best 5-minute madness presentation, and a dinner quiz. And all of them were won by people from my university. In fact, three of the four were won by me! (I didn’t submit for the fourth, so I’m not bitter about not winning that one.)
So yeah. I won the quiz (along with my team). I won best presentation. And I won best paper. It was amazing. Really. And it was (mostly) unexpected, but very hoped-for. (Hoped for like a lottery win: I wanted to win but didn’t believe it was within my reach.)
And winning all of those things is fantastic! Winning (and just participating in) the quiz helped me to network with other delegates. Winning the 5-minute madness presentation helped me to realise I’m a better speaker than I thought. And winning the best paper is, well, that’s just awesome – especially for my CV.
But better than all is that those winnings helped me to win back some of the self-esteem I’ve lost over the course of my life. Winning those things helped me to win back some of my academic confidence. Those winnings helped me to remember that I am actually a pretty smart cookie with a lot of ability. I just have to have more faith in myself.
And even better still is that winning back some of my self-esteem and confidence means that I am feeling a bit more positive about my ability to succeed. Yes, I feel a little bit closer to being a butterfly now. And importantly, I feel motivated to continue on the path to success!
[Photo credits to my PhD supervisor, Hazel Hall.]