This week has been a funny old week in PhD land but most of all it has reminded me the power that a simple ‘well done’ can have.
As part of my studies there is an oral presentation event for 2nd years where basically you have 10mins to talk about your research and then answer a few questions from the audience. great practice for the future and in a relatively friendly and intimidating setting. My research is often quite different to the people who I present it too and I find it is difficult to gauge how well it went. This particular time I thought it went quite well so I was happy. Later on in the afternoon I received the following email from one of the Judges (who is also in my division)
Well done – you gave a great talk getting across some very complex concepts really clearly and the videos really helped with the explanations. I think you did the best of all the lab-based scientists. Pity there aren’t more prizes……
I suddenly found I had this huge smile on face. The fact that she had taken the time to let me know this meant a lot. I later found out that she had also sought out my supervisor as well. Maybe I’m not doing too badly after all?
This week I also had my 2nd year viva voce with my internal assessor. this is basically an oral exam whereby I sit down with m assessor and we discuss my work and any issues I may have. What I wasn’t expecting for her to basically say that I’m doing a really good job. I walked out of that meeting with an even bigger smile on my face and walking a little bit taller. It was probably the first time in the 2 years here in Nottingham that some had said, you know what – your are actually a good scientist and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Yes there is still a hell of a lot of work to do in the next year but just keep on going and you will make it.
Now I used to teach swimming and before that I was a national level swimmer and making sure praise was given when needed quite clearly gave the recipient a confidence boost and the feeling that you are appreciated. A feeling that we all need. I guess since moving here I had forgotten that – easily done when praise is a rarity.
I guess what I am trying to say is don’t underestimate the power of a well done or a pat on the back. Even if it is in the form of what you are doing is good keep it up, the smallest bit of praise can make the biggest difference.