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Just ask

For 2011, I have a challenge for myself. I hope some of my fellow researchers will join in too.

Just ask what you want.

Have you been thinking to yourself: I wish I could go to this conference, I wish I could present there, I wish I could meet this person?

It came to my mind recently, that most PhD students need to create chances.

Taking chances is a first step, and I have been able to put myself to this point. I am naturally shy and I would prefer to stay in my safe research environment. I can feel perfectly happy with a pencil, scratch paper and a few interesting papers.

Last year, however, I discovered the wonderful feeling of getting positive feedback from peers and senior researchers. I must have been smiling and radiating throughout the entire summer, as my first two conferences gave me quite some confidence in my work.

I am glad that I have discovered what opportunities it can bring me to take chances, but I want more.

For 2011, I want to create more chances. I want to simply ask what I would like to do.
I have made a few steps in this direction already. The next two conferences I will attend, are conferences I have chosen, and have asked my advisors if I can go there. I have an abstract in process for another convention, and today I asked about a conference in 2012 already for which abstracts are due early 2011.

Another major step is that today, I dared to walk into the office of my advisor and ask him if he read the documents I sent him. We had a scheduled meetings this morning which got postponed to “sometime during the day”.
Normally, I would have stayed in my office, anxiously waiting until he would show up and tell me he had some time to discuss. Now, I spent 10 minutes talking to myself and saying: just go ask!

And this I would like to do more in 2011: Just ask!

Even if the answer is “no”, at least I will have tried.

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