Attending a Conference | Master Journey #12

September 14, 2019

"I'm singing in the rain. Just singing in the rain...~"

This post has been stuck in my head for 3 weeks now. But I have other priorities, unfinished business and wifi issues. Alhamdulillah, almost all are finished (minus thesis writing and missing wifi).


Once you have become a postgraduate student, one of the must-attend event is to participate in a conference. Academic conference. Not just attending, but also participate as a speaker. 


It was February 2019 and my SV already pumped us out to register for the upcoming conference in August. I am ready to go, but my friend had to back out because she will be occupied with her cute rats. So, I was all by myself to attend.

As a requirement for the registration is to submit an abstract. I registered as a student for the poster presentation. I did try asking for an oral presentation, but my request was not entertained. 

Then, the poster design. Oh, the poster HAHA. I got stumbled with the poster layout because I didn't quite satisfied with all the figures and tables cluttering my poster. It wasn't organized, and not my style. I tried to be reasonable with my SV to reduce the poster content. But the effort go wasted and just like any other obedient PG student - follow your SV. I asked my friends for some feedback, and they gave me some satisfying comments and constructive criticisms. Once your SV is happy with your draft poster, then you can print on A4 paper before sending it to the printing shop.

Then, I got scammed. I need to get the best quality of my printed poster. Once I satisfied with the low price and decent paper quality, I gave the printing shop worker a green light to print it on a A1 portrait paper. But OH BOY! you don't know how shook I was when the worker later on asked me for RM75. In my memories 2 days back, I clearly remembered he said the price is between RM15-RM20. Did my ear betrayed me? That's why I wanted to print at Cyberjaya. Murah! Last time print poster A1 sana RM17 sahaja.. Nasib baik pakai duit geran..



People attend conference for networking, expanding knowledge, presenting  and as graduate requirement (But not for UPM Master student)


This was the conference I attended

It was grand! Bigger and extravagant than the first conference I attended a year ago. About 200+ participants (I would say more) attended the conference. The schedule was packed with interesting topics about foods. The invited speakers came from different countries, with a bag of experiences in their respective area. I remembered one speaker elegantly speaking about Food Policy (not my fortee), but her diligent way of giving speech had successfully send the message to my cramped brain.

In a conference, there are 3 main events. Keynote speech by the invited speakers, oral presentation and poster presentation. Once the keynote speech session was finished, we all dispersed and selected which presentation to attend. The oral presentation was splitted into three different venues. I had to rush back and forth to different halls just to not miss any interesting presentations. I didn't forget to cheer on my co-SV presenting ^_^.

Because of my weird circumstances as a student in UPM, I didn't quite recognized other students from my own faculty. But somehow this change because I met a few students, we bonded and shared our research and experience as a student. Some are full-time student, some are working in gov sectors. Yup, networking - Success. 

Networking during break

My SV even "promoted" me to other lecturers from other universities who are interested in taking new students. Overwhelmed as it is, I take that as a good sign. She knows I am interested to further my studies in a different field (but still food). 

Poster presenting

My poster session was scheduled on the first day. Let me tell you, standing by your poster in a cramped space is not ideal. I stood few meter away from my own poster, just watching people passing by. Some holding their chin, analyzing my poster like an extraordinary relic. Some treat poster like a museum gallery - taking pictures non-stop.  Well, I did it too, for future reference. If they bother to ask a question, you just reply. 

Then, here came the awaited guest. The Judge. I wasn't quite prepared for him because I was busy explaining my poster to my new-made friend. He just stood there behind us, gripping his clipboard while witnessing our never-ending conversation when one of us had to ask.. "Judge?". He just gave us a smile- like a polite Japanese man would do. 

At the moment, all flew away. I had to settle down, put down my backpack and in a second I let my brain led me to what I have been prepared. It was funny because once I finished introducing my paper title, "Wait...what's next?". Prof Kato break the silence and asked a few questions. Then I got my flow back and we went through the whole poster. I know it wasn't my best, but Mom! I did it!


Once the Judge has done his work. All let loose. I got to sip some hot tea and roamed through the poster area and read other interesting posters. At one time while I was reading a poster, a tall female figure was running few feet away and landed beside me. Like she was expecting me from afar. "Is this your poster?" I asked politely. She nodded and then she enthusiastically shared her research on S. aureus occurrence in food handlers in Klang Valley. It was nice, because most of the presenters were nowhere to be found. Some are missing, and the poster didn't get judged. 


With 2 day events wrapped up, you can now breathe in and breathe out. I admit, there was too many information to sink in, knowledge to grasp and shortcoming needed to be patched up. Pat and tell yourself, you did a great job. I got to claim back my RM75, but the poster went to my SV, for her to display at the Faculty hallways. Haha. 

I was beaten up after two long exhaustive days but then remembered, I had a flight to catch on the next day for a vacation. Nothing was packed. I supposed to be hyped up, but why didn't I? It has been 15 years since I stepped on Borneo Land, what has changed? 

p/s: I have dozens of poster example to share (for future reference), but it took a lot of space to publish in this post, making it lengthy. I forgot how to make slideshow picture in blog post. T.T

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