Although it is a belated response, now I am on my last regular shift ever at 301 (*sob*) I thought it would be a good idea to reflect on the experience I had of the British Conference of Undergraduate Research (BCUR – we pronounce this ‘beaker’!), both behind the scenes and as a delegate.
Working at 301 has meant I witnessed the amount of organisation and effort it took to put the conference together and although I wasn’t directly involved in the organisation process, I knew how hard everyone worked to make it run as smoothly as possible (and it paid off!).
As a delegate and student of Sheffield, I decided to be a volunteer for the conference on one of the days so that the price of the ticket could be waived (very grateful for this – coming from a poor student!) but also so I could gain volunteering experience for my CV. I volunteered on the Friday (13th April) and was very happy to be showing everyone where they needed to go and contribute to the smooth running of the conference. It also meant that the students presenting were aided in where they needed to be, and helped their nerves as a result because no one wants to be late to their presentation. I also experienced some of the students’ presentations, and it was excellent to see a range of academic research presented in each room. I think this opens students up to research areas they had never thought of before, and I definitely learned some new things (I saw a lot of black hole presentations – spooky!).
As a delegate myself, I was very nervous to be presenting. I had decided to present a poster during the lunch period, so that others could walk around and have an informal chat with me about my undergraduate dissertation. I was very surprised to hear that people had seen my research title on the programme and had come to see my presentation specially! The conference gave me a real confidence boost, and allowed me to express my research in a clear and succinct manner, ensuring that students of other disciplines understood what I was saying.
I want to say a huge thank you to 301, for not only being the best managers ever, but for putting on a well-organised, collaborative and friendly conference. I will always remember these two days – especially as it might be the beginnings of a career in academia!