Perks of PhD

I am sure those of you who have pursued higher studies such as masters, PhDs and post doctorates have got their fair share of perks such as more than one opportunity to visit new places, lodge, dine and interact with many different people all at the expense of your university, in other words totally free! Yup folks, being a PhD student I would definitely admit that I have visited places I would otherwise have never visited (at least not until I start earning properly) and had the privilege of meeting people from all sorts of countries including the big shots in my own field.

Coming to the highlights of my PhD life, conferences are the biggest perks that I thoroughly enjoy. There is always one almost each month, although I don't attend every one of them, I have a handful of important ones that I definitely try to attend. True it takes up most of the day and some even stretch up to 5 days, but what is that compared to how much I get in return?!  Not only do I get to see new places and make new friends, I also connect and network with folks from other universities and industries alike, and enjoy their company while dining together. I even get to see some high class technical presentations and posters, and lastly but not the least learn from all of it. And if you are ready, this is the excellent way to publish papers in high profile journals too. Conferences are really the best platforms where you get to showcase your own knowledge and what you've been up to on the technical front, and also see others do the same too. 

Seriously, what's not to like?! The venues are great, the places are all easily accessible, the people are amazing… Ok, there is also food, lots and lots of FREE food! Lol… I mean I always find myself eating more during conferences than otherwise not because free food tastes better (well, these ones do :p) but it is rather more easier and better to socialise with folks over coffee breaks, lunch and dinner.

Anyway, here are a list of places I've visited so far all thanks to the conferences:

1. London - The largest city in UK and the most sought after one too, although I have visited London on several other occasions since I first came, I mean who wouldn't? [I might even have the fleeting chance of meeting Michael Fassbender and Benedict Cumberbatch :D]. By now I guess I have visited London 12 times, out of which at least 4 were due to conferences alone! Well, who's complaining? Not me that's who! More to come this year too… Hooray!

A toast to the grand view of London from HQS Wellington on River Thames - My London Conference, 2013.
2. Leeds - up north at the borders of England, Leeds is the third largest city in UK. But, I'll be honest, I wouldn't have thought of visiting it as a vacation or touristic spot whatsoever cause I am still coping with the lack of sun and cold weather in UK. Southampton being warmer than Leeds itself is too much for me… You can imagine my take on the weather up North! Well, but at least I still get to say I did go around the city, enjoying the historical architectures and the buzzing life there. Not to forget, I had my first experience of snow since coming to UK at Leeds too!

My first snow in UK at Leeds
3. Sheffieldgranted sheffield is a big city with metro rail running across the city, as a matter of fact the 5th largest metropolitan city, I had already visited it once with a friend who was studying her masters there. But the following year I had the opportunity to visit it once again. This time I got the opportunity to walk around the city and study it in more details. Also, we had an excellent time at the award winning Winter Garden.

At the Winter Garden, in April 2014.
4. Glasgow - Again, a major city of Scotland (4th largest in UK) and a must see, I hadn't had the opportunity to visit it until early this year. Well, sure it was on my list of places to go to during vacations but to be frank, I don't get the time to go to places too often and conferences are one of the best ways to find those times without completely missing out on work, cause hey, conferences are educational too!

I really enjoyed it, the city was very busy and lively, there were a lot of historical monuments and architectures to visit, and I made some really nice international friends too. All I can say is - I'll be back!

View from the top - Glasgow city
5. United States of America - Yes!!! Going across the borders in to unfamiliar waters, a big thanks is due for STLE conference and my sponsors, IMechE, I got to visit a whole new continent for the very first time - North America. Earlier this year in May, I had the fantastic opportunity to visit States and attend one of the biggest annual events of my field and that too at Disneyland, Orlando! Beat that! As an addition, I ended up visiting not one but 3 states and 4 coveted cities: Orlando (at Disneyland!!!!!!), Dallas, Philadelphia and New York City. Now tell me how cool is THAT!?!

Anyway, next year I have a lot more conferences coming up in new places I am yet to go. Can't wait! But for now, next stop - Cambridge. Tomorrow I will be packing for Cambridge for the very first time, I'm excited and trilled… Will get to see the grand University of Cambridge finally, and also I will have a poster to present too. The three day conference will be quite exciting am sure! Will keep you posted… Till then,

Love always,

Your eager globe-trotter…