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I am a first year PhD student. In our group there is this tradition of going to a small village town during an extended weekend and giving presentations.

Being a rookie in the group I have never participated in such an event. I have no idea what it is about. Is it about science, is it about fun, or else?

I asked other senior members of the group, they said it is a mix of both.

Obviously, I have to present something in this event and looking back at my work so far, I feel horrible when I compare it to the other PhD candidates. Yes they are seniors and have done more, but still...

Is it worth including these topics in my presentation:

  • the topic of my research (should I explain in detail what it is, and how it works?!?)
  • the project I work for
  • the students I supervise
  • misc...

Has anyone else participated in such an event? What is its purpose? How to appear good although I am the rookie in the group? What is the tone of the presentations in such an event?

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    Your question is very specific to your group.... other groups might get together from time to time, but the specific activities involved will be different... No way random internet dudes can actually help you more than the other senior members of your group. What we can do is to tell you to not overthink it! :) – Fábio Dias May 29 '16 at 21:11
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    I retracted my close vote after reading the question over several times. I don't think this question depends on the individual group/institute. IIRC, I was asked to do an informal presentation when I first joined a research group long time ago. I think this kind of event is common but in different places (mine was not in a small village town) and in different formats. Nevertheless, I had trouble with what to say when it was my turn to present. I don't know if there is a dup somewhere on this site. However, the question should help the new comers to a new research group. – scaaahu May 30 '16 at 6:47
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Just talk to your colleagues, ask them to show you their previous presentations. It's perfectly fine to be afraid to make a mistake and ask "silly" questions.

Here's what I would do: tell about your previous research, if you are from different country/uni - maybe show some pictures. Then tell about your project - even if you don't have any results (and it's ok) you can talk about your research plan, experiments you plan to do. It's good to have feedback/suggestions from seniors at this stage.

Then, if you're new - you can introduce yourself to others, maybe have one slide with pictures that represent your hobbies, etc.

  • I think this answer is helpful. – scaaahu May 30 '16 at 6:51
  • Those groups are really a good way to improve your social networks, and maybe have some early reviewers for your publication/thesis. And new friends too ! Being new means a lot of people will ask you about what you're doing and so on... Don't miss this opportunity to be known :) – Gautier C May 30 '16 at 8:42

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