It is about to happen. I am almost at the end of the beginning. My admission seminar, the point at which I will actually become a PhD student for real, it this Friday.
Now this may all sounds cryptic and bizarre, but within my department at KI, the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (MEB) and maybe in all departments at KI, you cannot become registered as a PhD student until you have passed your ADMISSION SEMINAR. Now for you outside the academic world, the admission seminar basically consist of two steps. It all starts with a 30 minutes presentation, where you account for whatever amazing ideas you and your future supervisors have decided that you thesis work will focus on. After these 30 minutes of you sweating in sheer panic because you have to speak in front of a crowd, trying to get all the technicalities of your future research right despite not really understanding them (being a PhD student is a learning process ok!) , there is the questioning… A board of three terrifying uberhuman’s, like senior researcher, statistician or superclever post-docs, will ask en endless series of complicated questions that you will probably not be able to answer. If, and I say if, you survive this harrowing experience, the board will decide if you pass your admission seminar and you finally be a real PhD student! Like when Pinocchio became a real boy, expect is has nothing to do with your nose and (hopefully not) lying.
Ok maybe I am exaggerating a little(read a lot), as I think it is almost impossible to fail once allowed to have the admission seminar and to be honest, I have had have lots of support when preparing from both student reps and my supervisors. Also, the board usually tends to be really nice and it is ok if you can’t answer some of their questions, because they actually known that becoming a PhD student is about learning new skills and tools.
Yet, in these final days leading up to my execution, sorry seminar, I can’t help but to be a little nervous. So fingers crossed and wish me luck. If I pass this Friday, I will post some serious celebration pics to instagram, as it will mean I am finally a PhD student for real!
Also, it is open to everyone at KI, adding a another level of fear.