The Royal Society of Medicine runs an undergraduate maxillofacial surgery conference each year and they accept posters for presentation. This is a short article about my experience there.
I presented a poster at this conference that I presented a few months earlier at the BSOM winter meeting. I talk in detail about the case here. This goes to show that if you create a decent case report that it can give great returns, I've managed to get 2 poster presentations out of this one so far and I'm aiming to get it published as a case report, ideally in a peer-reviewed journal.
The day itself was a relatively informal affair. The main difficulty was getting up in the morning as this was the Saturday immediately after my final fifth year dental dinner, which usually means a bad head in the morning! I always feel a bit nervous at the start of these conference days. I've done quite a few now but I can never really get my head round the idea that I should actually be there, it always feels a little bit like I'm faking things! I half expect someone to walk past, take one look at my poster and say "Ha! This is all wrong!". But as ever, the other presenters and academics were all absolutely lovely and fascinating to talk to. The great thing about these events is that most people are, or at least have previously been, in the same boat as you. So there's always plenty to talk about.
After we had all put our posters up there was a morning of lectures about various maxillofacial surgery topics and then lunch. Following this there were the oral prize presentations and announcement of the poster prize winners. (Not me this time!)
I often get asked by other students how they should go about getting poster presentations, essay prizes and other awards etc. If you're a student reading this, my one key message would be this: if you look at this and think that it's something you would like to do; well, in the famous words of Shia Le Bouf: "just do it!". The only things you need are as follows: A desire to do it, the commitment to put the research and work in, a willingness to speak to senior colleagues/peers for help and guidance, and a lot of persistence. Once you've started with an idea, stick with it and see it through until the end, you will be so surprised how easy some of these poster presentations are to get because not many student actually go for them. Most people who fail, fail before they even start...either by not starting at all, or by giving up at the first sign of difficulty. I have failed at these things many more times than I have succeeded, but I try so many of them that my average is higher! You also tend to get a bit of a feel for what type of things do well after a while too.
Stick with it, good things come to those who wait!
Thanks for reading guys,
Bye for now.