By BA Hons Philosophy student
Applying for the British Conference of Undergraduate Research was on of the best things I have done in my university life. The process was surprisingly simple, despite what I first thought.
I heard of the scholarship from a lecture, I wrote my abstract and many members of staff were willing to help me edit it for the application. The abstract was accepted by the scholarship and they provided me with a lot of support to refine it before my BCUR application. All of the help of the Scholarship committee and my lectures set me up for the application well, and because of their support I was invited to the conference.
The conference was a brilliant space to experience because it is meeting space for hundreds of like-minded individuals. I was quite nervous about giving my paper, however the actual presentation was very painless. I gave the paper I had been researching for the last 12 months or so and got a real taste of that sort of experience – which has led me to presenting in conferences after this experience.
What has really stuck with me however has been the shift I have noticed in myself. After my first year I doubted my place in university: I considered dropping out, or changing courses. I honestly stayed with my degree because I thought it would be less fuss, and I seemed to be good at it. Although it did not do this alone, the experience of this conference helped me change my mind – it gave me the space to talk to like-minded people, even share anxieties about university and more presciently, it gave me the space to enjoy the results of my university work.
It gave me a real fire to come back to university energised and started me down the path to future conferences and public speaking – which I now do a lot. I would recommend the experience to anyone, but especially if you want the space to meet with people and have your university experience affirmed.
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