Aug. 9th, 2012

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I have somehow accumulated four--no, five--essays that are due next week. Plus I'm flying to another city for four days, where I will presumably have a little bit of time to work on papers, but it's going to put a serious break in my workflow. Today is Thursday, which has been a decently productive day for me in the past, not quite as good as Friday. Since I'm wondering right now if I've bitten off too much, I am almost ready to start working. If I put things off for a few more days, I would be certain I had bitten off too much and would immerse myself in frenzied essay preparation. I'm hoping to access frenzied essay preparation today, for the pipe dream of finishing early.

But first I am learning how to build a poster. Posters are these excuses for scientists to get together in pleasantly distant cities like Las Vegas and San Francisco. Because all the information that really matters is on the poster, and all the posters are gathered into a big room for the duration of the conference, it's easy for the scientists to browse through, get the scoop on the newest research and (with the better posters) what the current state of the field is. And then they can go goof off for the next three days.

The brilliant part is that it's relatively easy to get a poster accepted, so there's a huge number of scientists who come to these things to "present" the poster, meaning they stand by it and talk to browsers, and then they are done. There are speakers and seminars and sometimes workshops at these things too, but thanks to the poster session, scientists can be choosy about which ones they go to and how much time they spend in other, more diverting pursuits.

So you can see, it's very important to know how to put together a poster.
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I had so much fun describing the role of posters at conferences, I forgot my original thought, which is that there really ought to be a guide to putting together a student poster. The problem I'm running into today is that they want us to make a poster like we would if we were grown up scientists, but I'm not a grown-up scientist, I'm a transplant from vet school and journalism. As such, I have nothing to put on a poster. This will change rapidly in the next few months--I hope--but right now I'm doing, what, a meta-review poster? But because I tend to just hang onto classes by my fingernails, I didn't exactly see this on the horizon, and don't have a spare meta-review. On the other hand, I do have a dozen potential sources that I've been collecting, so I will be doing some research in addition to my frenzied essay writing.
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Running into the problem of essays and assignments piling up at the end of the session. Part of the problem was me not looking ahead in the provided material to see what might be worked on during lectures or just after, when information is fresh in my head. Part of it this time was getting overwhelmed by readings, and just when I felt caught up in one class (and potentially able to write an essay) another class started and took up my time.

So this is a note for future reference.
Work on assignments from the first day. If there's not a time-crunch that day, start and work on the final paper.

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