by Nyasha Gondora
Nyasha Gondora is a third year PhD candidate at the Waterloo School of Pharmacy. She was the winner of the 2016 Three Minute Thesis science heat.
Competing in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) was a challenging decision – as a grad student, there are so many things vying for your time. Research, course work, conferences, scholarship applications, writing – did I really want to add preparing and presenting my work to a large crowd on top of that?
I had been hearing about the 3MT competition for a while, and I was at a point in my research where I felt that I had relevant findings to share. It was an opportunity to push myself out of my comfort zone and try something new. I attended the 3MT bootcamp and gained a better understanding of what was expected of me as a participant: this made me less anxious about my decision and more determined to give it my best. It was inspiring to hear from the past participants – they had so many great things to say about their 3MT experience.
Don’t get me wrong – 3MT thesis is a big time investment. You’re a grad student, you have years of work. How do you summarize that on one slide? How do you translate your complex work into layman’s terms? Yes, it's overwhelming but so worth your time and effort. It’s an amazing experience- you'll be glad you participated.
It’s one thing to practice presenting on your own, but sharing your research in front of a live audience is a fantastic opportunity, not only to get your research out there but to hone presentation skills and meet people. The competition gave me the opportunity to meet some of the fantastic professionals and other students across campus.
Another big takeaway is having a ready-made and succinct explanation of your research. This is an important resource for networking and conferences, and learning to put your work into layman terms is a useful experience for any grad student.
If you’re like me and you were on the fence about registering, go for it! It’s only three minutes, but it’s an experience you won’t forget.