Review of the National PhD Day 2015

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Thank you for attending the National PhD Day 2015: ‘Enhance Your Career!’ at the Delft University of Technology on November 10th. With more than 200 participants, fifteen workshops in three rounds, an information market and the granting of the Supervisor of the Year Award, the day was a huge success. We are very much interested in your opinion about the day, so we would like to ask you to fill in our short evaluation form on the website.

We look forward to next year’s event!

A review from participant Tessa Dekkers of the National PhD Day 2015:

Past Tuesday it was time for the National PhD Day at the Delft University of Technology! As a first year Industrial Design PhD student I had no idea of what to expect, but seeing as I only needed to cross the street to attend the workshops I had no excuse to not check out what the PhD Day was all about. After a playful opening an intense discussion with the rector magnificus of TU Delft followed which mainly focussed on the question of whether PhD students should be paid employees or reimbursed students. I still don’t know where I stand on that point, but it was nice to see that PhD students and the rector could discuss these kind of topics without problems of hierarchy.

Up next were three round of workshops, of which the first was on pitching. Most PhD students, especially those who are just starting up, have a difficult time finding out what their research is all about – let alone successfully communicating this to others! I was most intrigued by a fun exercise to try at home: presenting your research to your grandma in such a way that she will find it relevant. Good luck!

I decided to stay seated for the next workshop on presenting and boy, was I glad I did. We – quite literally – learned to speech like Obama on the topic us PhD students fear most: rejection of all your research by all possible journals. This interactive workshop showed us that people clap the hardest after contrasting sentences, and that pauses are vital to bringing across emotions. The most important message was perhaps given at the end: “we are not in research for ourselves, not for our professors but for the future of science!” 

Finally, I found my talent in a workshop on personal branding. I already knew beforehand that this would deem interesting as people were standing in the back in order to follow the workshop and it indeed proved to be very fun. But what would you expect, when a teacher introduces himself through song?

The day was concluded with the Supervisor of the Year award and of course the Dutch pillar of all academic research – a borrel. Overall, the PhD day was full of intriguing workshops and I’m definitely going next year – even if that means having to travel a bit further!