In Part 2 of my series of conference season blogs I will briefly discuss my experience at the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy (ISSDP) Conference in Sydney, Australia. After leaving Auckland (see previous blog) I travelled to Sydney to attend the ISSDP conference in Sydney. While Auckland had been an entirely new experience Sydney was much more familiar to me as I had spent a few months living their after graduating from university. As a result, I was looking forward to having the opportunity to visit some of my favourite spots in the city over the course of the weekend, before I would need to attend the ISSDP Sydney Conference. After spending some time visiting the many picturesque sites that Sydney has on offer (see pictures below) it was time to get back to “business” and attend the conference.
Similarly, to Auckland the conference venue was located away from from the main city centre in the quiet suburb of Manly which meant that I again needed to travel to the conference using the ferry.
Upon my arrival to the conference I learned that it was located in a former quarantine station that was used to quarantine immigrants as they arrived in Sydney. The quarantine station has since been converted into a nature reserve/conference centre and is definitely worthy of a spot on my list of most picturesque conference venues I have attended since joining the INTREPID Forensics Programme.
While I could go into detail about all of the different interesting things that I learned over the course of the conference I prefer to briefly touch upon one of the main things that I took away from my experience of attending this conference that I think is worth sharing with other early career researchers. For me the main takeaway from the conference was that it reaffirmed my belief that anyone is capable of producing excellent research. As an early stage researcher/PhD candidate I have often had conversations with my peers about trying to get to stage in our careers where we will be able to do interesting work like (INSERT ANY WELL KNOWN ESTABLISHED RESEARCHER). While I did listen to some interesting presentations by well known established researchers I was actually often most impressed by the papers that were presented by my fellow PhD students and in some cases Master’s students. As an early career researcher it can often feel daunting having to present your work alongside more senior and established researchers. However, I would like to tell my fellow “early career researchers” that there is no need to feel apprehensive about presenting your work alongside well established researchers as we are all capable of producing excellent research and senior academics are generally very welcoming and eager to hear your research and provide you with useful feedback.
Well that is all I have to say about my trip to Sydney. I am very much looking forward to attending next year’s ISSDP conference in Aarhus, Denmark. In my next blog post I will discuss the third conference that I attended as part of my “conference season” travels, the 4th International Novel Psychoactive Substance Conference which took place in Budapest, Hungary.