The International Scientific Forum and Workshops (Feat: Silver Tan)

The International Scientific Forum and Workshops (Feat: Silver Tan)

Presenting your Psychology research or thesis in the research colloquium or conference by the time you graduate is probably one the most exciting moments to many Psychology students, especially when it comes to the research that takes them a year of efforts and sleepless nights to complete. Silver Tan, like other Psychology students who really wanted to ‘see the world’ had just finished her journey in The International Scientific Forum and Workshops on October 13-15. It’s our pleasure to have Silver for our online interview and feature her sharing on our website for our audiences. We hope you enjoy reading this article!  🙂

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Photo Credit: Silver

M: Hi, Silver. Thanks for accepting our interview. Could you share with us what motivates you to join this conference?

S: Trust me, I asked myself the same question many times: When I couldn’t sleep in the middle of the night, and even when I was busy preparing my presentation slides on the plane! (Initially, I thought I received a wrong email from the president as I applied for poster presentation) Rather than listing out the 1001 reasons to go Philippines, I would summarise them in one word – gratitude. Perhaps this is my little creative way to say THANK YOU to my participants, supervisor, lecturers, friends and family members for their support as I promised them that this research is something worth to explore. It’s true that I made a promise to my participants that I will not let my findings rot under the desk or be thrown into the deep sea. And it’s time for me to use my findings to ‘do something’, to contribute, and to raise awareness about self-harm behaviour (my research). Apart from that, I really wanted to “see the world”. It’s a great opportunity to open my mind, my eyes… and to meet interesting people in the same field, *partly because I wanted to have a short vacation.*  😎

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Photo credit to the organizer of the International Scientific Forum & Workshops

M: What is the conference about and how does it benefit the participants?

S: The International Scientific Forum and Workshops on October 13-15 with the theme “Multidisciplinary Developments and the Guidance Counselor” was held by The Iota Phi Counseling Academic and Professional Honor Society International. Graduate Students, Professors, Life Coaches, Teachers, Educators, Guidance Counselors, Psychologists, and Researchers from all disciplines were invited to participate in the poster and research presentations and workshops. We presented our studies, had discussion, learnt from each other, and had fun!

In summary:

1. Build connections among researchers across disciplines;

2. Translate research findings for journal publication;

3. Update the newest scientific thoughts; and

4. Address relevant issues and concerns among teachers and guidance counsellors across border

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Group Photo: Photo credit to the organizer of the International Scientific Forum & Workshops

M: What is the most challenging part to you in this journey?

S: Well, everything was challenging! The most challenging part was to face my inner insecurity – I always feel like I’m a little potato and I don’t think potato can give a good presentation! Most people would rather die than to do a public speaking – so am I. The worst part was that I had to present in front of professionals when I didn’t have enough sleep (48 hours wide awake) and no prior practice/rehearsal. Lesson to be learnt: Prepare your slides one week before the actual presentation!

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Ian, Silver and Mr James with their lovely certificates. 🙂 Photo Credit to Silver

M: How does it feel when you are sharing your research in front of other Psychology professionals? Is there any unforgettable moment to you?

S: They were not ordinary audiences – professors, deans, famous psychologists, educators… and I happened to be the youngest panellist and soon-to-be fresh undergraduate. I still remember the organiser introduced me as “him”, “the guy from Malaysia”, and “who has taken a lot of free courses from Coursera”. (Up to this point in my life, my resume is still as clean as a sheet of clean paper with extra lines saying I presented in the conference) The moment I walked on the stage with my hipster look, I think they had to have a strong heart to recover from heart attack. “Hello, I’m the young researcher, who comes from Malaysia,… thank you for having me here… This is my first time in Philippines,” I said. And I gave them a sharp stare when my heart was pumping faster than the F1 car race, trying so hard to stay chill. Well, it took countless sleepless nights to raise the threshold of my courage to end the research presentation with a story – a true journey of a girl finding meaning in self-harm experiences. To stand and tell my story in front of deans, professors and pioneers in the field; and to talk about this Taboo, nobody says it is “fear free”. Being the youngest, I have the least experience; I feared the most and at the same time I was the bravest as we breed courage through fear when we decide to conquer our fear with action. In the end, as the audiences stood up and applauded, I knew I have earned my seat.

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Silver was presenting her research about self-harming behaviour. Photo credit to the organizer of the International Scientific Forum & Workshops

M: To other peers who are looking forward to their opportunity to present in any Psychology conference, any advice or personal sharing for them?

S: Pretty sure that you can always Google the “conference 101” or “how to give a good presentation” in the search engine. So what I’m about to share… is based on my experience, as the “potato” who feels that “I’m not good enough”. Scarcity: I’m not good enough (Are you sure you can make it?) What is fear? Fear could be the ghosts of yesterday, scarcity from “I’m not good enough”, and/or imagination of disaster. What then, is courage? Courage is not the total absence of fear, but rather the ability to acknowledge fear, and persist in spite of fear. When I told some of the lecturers that I’m going to present in the International Scientific Forum in Philippines, they congratulated me and asked, “So you’re presenting your thesis?” And I replied, “Yes, but, arr… I think I need to Google what is panel presentation first!” Most of them were really surprised that “this potato” was given a slot to present her undergraduate thesis up to the international level.

And I really need to thank them for giving me useful advice for my presentation:

1. Know your stuffs

2. Really know your stuffs

3. Make sure you really really know your stuffs

4. Talk about implications, highlight them, bold, enlarge…

5. HAVE FUN, you’re so young!

“I don’t think I can make it and they will laugh at me when they look at my resume, so clean, I’m just a student, not even graduate yet…” I cried. “Then you should present in conference, it’s time to build your resume!” said Mr. James. “I wanna quit, I’m just a potato! ” I said. “Last time you said you will fail, you didn’t fail what…,” Ms. Jocelyn replied. Personally I think TALKING to lecturers helped me A LOT in overcoming my fear because they are experienced presenters. They even joked about their worst presentation! My supervisor, Ms. Jocelyn who is always patient enough to hear me criticising myself, she even spared two hours to run through my thesis line-by-line, questioned my findings, and gave me words of encouragement. I want to take this opportunity to thank Ms. Jocelyn, Mr. James, Dr. A, Ms. Evone, and Ms. Tess for the encouragement. Of course, definitely cannot miss out my dearest friends Giselle, Khal, and Ian for the unlimited support.

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Ian, Silver & James in the conference. Photo credit to Silver

Gonna end this with a quote. “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ― Theodore Roosevelt

If you want to know more another International Conference, you can also watch our video featuring 5th ASEAN Regional Union of Psychological Societies (ARUPS) Congress here:

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Gary Yap, a HELP graduate is currently pursuing Master of Clinical Psychology in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM). He loves arts and passionate in making videos. He believes that Psychology knowledge shouldn't be limited to the professionals or students in the field, and it should go beyond and expand connection to general public. To realize his responsibility as a Psychology student, he started MY Psychology with his friends in 2014. Due to the public misconceptions towards Psychology,he hopes to make Psychology more approachable and understandable to public via developing MY Psychology as an integrated platform where people can learn in multiple ways and also exchange opinions about Psychology issues in an open-minded manner. Currently, he is planning to highlight what he read from courses and books and process them into bit-size information in short and bite-size article.

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