Chairing conference sessions, organising social events, writing on the EGU blog site: extra-curricular activities can help rounding up our scientific and academic identity. But let’s face it, they take up time and they can be stressful. Seynabou has been (surely very democratically, as it always happens) appointed as group meetings organiser but finds herself in high waters:
Help!? I am in charge of organising my research group meetings. What topics can be covered in such meetings?
First of all: breath. In…and out…in…keep it 5 seconds…and out…now go to pigeon pose…release all the tension of the day…There. Better? I understand the very-early-career eagerness and fear of doing anything wrong but remember that they asked you to organise the group meetings (obviously saying ‘no’ was not an option) because they did not want to do it themselves. So, however you do it, it’s the right way. If your advisor or the previous organiser wanted the seminar organised in a specific way, they would be in charge of that themselves.
Now, what topics to cover? How about topics related to the research activity in your group? Because you know what your research group does, don’t you? These are the topics that tend to be covered during group meetings and seminars. Normally. Most of the times. I mean, you could always suggest an open discussion on the latest episode of the Great British Bake-off, and people will show up, and you would have fulfilled your duties for the week. However, I would recommend against doing so regularly.
You are not supposed to bring topics to the table (except when it’s your turn to present something), you are supposed to find people that do. Cycle through the group members every week, asking them if they have a presentation on their latest research, a paper they would like to discuss or a problem they want feedback for. And if someone consistently refuses to lead a meeting, rat them out to the group leader and let them deal with the slothful ones.
The Sassy Scientist
PS: Warrior pose…hold…and now we close the day by going to handstand scorpion…hold…come one, just as easy as organising group seminars…hold…hold…HOLD….