Practice Makes Perfect
If you're like me, you're a human with emotions. These emotions are great. They make you feel alive! But they also make you dread data analysis.... What if you're data doesn't paint the picture you were hoping for? Or worse.... doesn't paint any picture.... I've had multiple moments where I plotted data and immediately had a flight or fight response. Unfortunately, you can't fight your data and can't flee from your masters thesis. You can, however, prioritize other tasks (like eating a tub of ice cream) above your data analysis and maybe forget about it for a while? This is exactly what I tend to do. Thankfully, I know myself a little better than I did three years ago and because of this I scheduled a CORE practice talk. It kept me analyzing data, making graphs, thinking about my results, and translating the story my experiments told regardless of how high my heart rate was. My talk wasn't perfect - I barely finished it in time for the CORE meeting. However, the talk was perfect for me. I was able to teach my peers about the ability of seaweeds to acclimate to new environments while they taught me that my figures were hideous and pointed out areas that could use improvement. It's exactly what I needed and they were so kind in providing me this feedback. I highly recommend giving a CORE talk - although, I'm not sure I would trust their figure advice.
Stephan Bitterwolf is a first year Ph.D. student in the Ocean Sciences Department at UCSC and is shortly going to be defending his Master's thesis at Moss Landing Marine Labs, a talk he practiced at a CORE meeting.