09 November 2011
By Blanka Sengerová
When I was a postgraduate student, I attended the Royal Society of Chemistry's ChemCareers event at Birmingham's NEC to see what options were available to my as a chemistry/biochemistry graduate. That was in the days when it was done in a physical place, with people turning up to the location on the day. More recently the RSC have done their careers fair in electronic format, with online attendance, with the most recent event taking place last week.
I didn't make it to any of the sessions, although I felt I ought to try, but I simply could not work out how attending virtual seminars works and find the time during the working day to sit and follow discussions instead of working on what I needed to be working on in the lab (admittedly, it didn't help that I was away on holiday for two of the five days). I can see why this set-up is really useful because you can dip in and out of things, but feel that you still have to set aside the time to do this and many people don't. Many people think it might be interesting to dip into something, but then end up being busy with other things, which would not happen if they had set aside the time to attend a non-virtual event.
I found similar difficulty with following the discussions that Tennie has advertised in the past about HE and research related issues on the Guardian website - it feels that once you drop out of the conversation thread, you're mostly lost so if you can't spend the 3 hours in front of the screen you might as well not bother.
Maybe it makes me out of touch with technology (which I would argue I'm not, even though I'm still not on twitter and prefer to talk to my friends/family in person than have a discussion with some anonymous person on a blog), but I am trying to work out how best to make use of these events. Has anyone on here experienced something similar and would like to share some tips?