By Deepti KC, PhD Student, GCU School of Health and Life Sciences
In the fast-paced world of academia, researchers often grapple with the challenge of effectively communicating their research to a broader audience. The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition is an exhilarating academic event that challenges graduate students to present their complex research in just three minutes. This nerve-wracking yet exciting experience has become a popular event in universities worldwide, encouraging scholars to hone their communication skills and share their passion for their field of study. In this blog, I delve into my unique journey as a 3MT participant from the SHIP group and unveil how this competition transformed my approach to research communication.
Participating in the 3 MT Competition was a daring step for me, aimed at stepping out of my comfort zone and presenting my research to a broader audience – Deepti KC.
As a student from the GCU School of Health and Life Sciences and a member of the SHIP group, my PhD research revolves around infection prevention and control (IPC). Specifically, I am exploring nurses’ experiences from Scotland and Nepal while implementing IPC guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite being in my second year of the PhD program, I have encountered challenges when it comes to explaining my research to individuals outside of the SHIP group. Whenever someone unfamiliar with IPC inquired about my research, I often found myself freezing, doubting my explanations, or even panicking, leading to rushed and unclear responses as I struggled to find a starting point to describe my work. This realisation served as a powerful motivation for me to step out of my comfort zone and participate in the 3MT Thesis competition. It was an incredible opportunity to improve my skills in communicating my research effectively and with unwavering confidence.
The 3MT competition presented me with one of the most daunting tasks: the art of simplification. I had to distil intricate concepts of my research into language that anyone would easily understand. Initially, this seemed intimidating, but it ultimately pushed me to think creatively and discover innovative methods to communicate my research clearly. Additionally, standing before an audience and a panel of judges, armed with only a single static slide as a visual aid and delivering a flawless performance was a significant challenge for me. The adrenaline rush during those three minutes was overwhelming, yet participating in the competition provided a safe space to build my confidence and conquer my stage fright.
The time constraint in the 3MT competition also helped me to capture the essence of my research and my passion for it. In three short minutes, by expressing my enthusiasm for my field of study, I believe that I demonstrated that research is not merely about numbers and data; it is driven by curiosity and a genuine desire to make a positive impact on the world. Mastering the art of communicating this passion through a concise yet impactful presentation is a skill that will undoubtedly serve me well beyond the competition’s confines.
The 3MT competition was an enriching experience for me as it brought together participants from diverse academic disciplines at GCU. I was exposed to research fields I never knew existed, broadening my horizons and fostering an appreciation for interdisciplinary collaboration. Breaking down barriers between disciplines, the competition showcased the interconnectedness of different fields, inspiring me to explore beyond my specialisation and find inspiration in unexpected sources. The courage displayed by other 3MT participants as they conquered their fears and delivered inspiring talks about their research served as a powerful reminder of the significance of perseverance and determination in achieving success. The valuable lessons and connections made during this competition will undoubtedly shape my academic and personal journey for years to come.
Although I didn’t win, I am proud that I pushed myself outside my comfort zone, acquired new skills, and accomplished something significant. I highly recommend the 3MT competition to all PhD students. Embracing this challenge can truly unleash the power of concise and compelling communication. So, the next time you hear about a 3-Minute Thesis event at GCU, embrace the challenge and go for it!