Peruvian Guest Blogger Sofia Espinoza from Yale is making a one time exception and lets her expectations get the best of her.
Expectations, just for this time
Expectations are powerful. They can sometimes determine how good or bad an experience is. Having said that, I don’t usually like to have them. Ever heard of “if you never have expectations, then you will never be disappointed”? Well, that’s been a mantra during my life. I’m more comfortable having strategies, plans, and techniques to approach “things,” not really expectations. However, this time, just this time, I’m allowing myself to boldly “expect” amazing things at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting because I’m sure anything I can imagine will be surpassed by reality. From what I’ve read and heard about the meeting, nothing can really go wrong. Let me tell you why.
You will not be alone
As many of you, I’ve been to large meetings before, sometimes it can be overwhelming and you can feel lost and out-of-place. The Lindau meeting, however, will be different. Forget about the imposter syndrome, you and I have been selected from all over the world, and each of us has plenty of reasons why we will be there and, most importantly, a story to tell. So, whenever you feel overwhelmed or lost, just turn around, introduce yourself to the person right next to you and you won’t be disappointed. Around 600 young scientists eager to learn and share our experiences – it cannot get better than that.
Nobel Laureates everywhere
Wait, actually, it can get better; we will be spending the days among scientific giants. For almost a week, Lindau will once again become a gathering place for incredible scientists, and from what I’ve read online this experience is as amazing for them as for us. We will be hearing the latest findings in science from at least 37 Nobel Laureates. We will listen to them, see them, and we might even shake their hands. We might not get that one-on-one meeting we all dream about, but who knows… dreaming doesn’t cost a thing, and from my experience, asking for a coffee to a famous senior scientist sometimes ends with a “yes”, it just needs to be at the right time.
Sometimes, more is more
This year, for the first time, there will be more female young scientists than men. Don’t get me wrong, I do like sharing and discussing science with male scientist colleagues. However, I expect that at the meeting female scientists will raise their voices and shine. Let’s not forget there sometimes still is a bias against women in science, so it will be a refreshing and positive experience to meet more passionate, intelligent and successful young female scientists. As Nobel Laureate Erwin Neher says: “Science simply needs the brightest minds. There may be a difference in how women and men approach certain problems, but diversity in this respect is definitely beneficial for research” – (for the full interview – click here). Talking about diversity, this year young researchers are coming from almost 80 different countries. Moreover, thanks to the newly introduced “Open Access Application ”, people like me studying outside their home country can also attend the meeting this year. Due to this and other efforts, lack of diversity won’t be an issue.
You won’t forget it
It might sound a little bit cliché, but as Kirsty mentioned she has a friend that recalls the Lindau meeting to get motivation every time an experiment fails or every time that he has to stay overnight at lab. Motivation usually comes from unexpected sources, but the kind of motivation you get from a meeting like Lindau should not be overlooked, as it might be the reason why you stay in science (or at least finish your experiment). Moreover, most of us won’t know anyone else beforehand, so we will all be strangers and will inevitably meet new people. These new connections will probably last for the rest of your scientific career and might foster future collaborations (don’t forget to bring some business cards, they always come in handy).
It’s football time, and you’ll be in Germany!
We must not forget that the World Cup will be at its peak during the meeting, and Germany has good odds and the motivation to stay until the end of the World Cup. I’m expecting to see at least a couple of Nobel Laureates shouting “GOOOAL!” at some point of the meeting, just to confirm my suspicions that Nobel Laureates are normal people too.
There are many other reasons why I recklessly have high expectations but I am sure you will figure out most of them by yourself. Just remember to bring your swimming suit, as I’ve heard the weather at Lindau will be spectacular. Once again, it cannot get better than that, but it might get better, way better.