A blog advocating autism through my own personal experiences and insights.

Earlier this month, I did an academic task that I’ve never done before. It was my PhD supervisor who suggested it since I was going to be home in Nova Scotia for three weeks and although he said it was only a suggestion since it was my “vacation time”, I thought it was a great idea anyway. By that time, I actually got an original research paper get unconditionally accepted for publication by a very good journal. The idea was to get lectures on it at two universities in Nova Scotia that specialised in the math I did, my undergrad university Acadia and Dalhousie University. Now while I have given talks before in my PhD program at Waterloo and at a couple of conferences, this would be the first time I would do it without it being part of something bigger, for example a conference, and in front of others I wouldn’t know (which was the case for Dalhousie if not Acadia).
I contacted both universities and after an exchange of various emails finally got something set up. It was great to visit Dalhousie and wonderful to see Acadia again even if it was just for a few hours. And because I already gave the exact same talk at Waterloo, as well as a shortened version of it at a major conference, I wasn’t really that nervous about it. I spent a couple of hours doing up detailed notes for myself that I could use as a guide since I was having the talks be straight chalkboard talks.
The talks were each an hour long and took place in the department seminars at the universities. They went great. Even my Dad and an aunt and uncle sat in even though they couldn’t really (kind of like take your Dad, aunt and uncle to work day, haha). But they enjoyed seeing me present regardless and could tell that the students and professors were engaged with what I was saying and writing on the chalkboard because the academic audience kept nodding their heads, taking notes, pointing at things I had written down, etc. And the talks were well received too since there were a couple of questions that I could more or less answer at the end. One of the questions required me to think on my feet, but after a few second I managed to give satisfactory answer. Everyone was impressed and the professor I had contacted at Dalhousie even took me out to lunch before the talk there.
I was certainly glad I got the opportunity to do them as it meant both putting more stuff on my academic resume and making more academic connections, which will probably help open doors. It was a great experience regardless.

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