The course First Year Paper is taught in the first year of the two-year Research Master IDA. During the course First Year Paper, students learn how to apply theoretical models and physiological assessments learnt in the first semester to generate research questions and hypotheses. Students may apply the knowledge about regression models and multilevel models they obtained during the course “Multivariate Analysis, Including Multilevel Models” in order to interpret statistical analyses and answer research questions during this course.During the course Research Seminar, which runs parallel with First Year Paper, students are guided in preparing, structuring, writing, and presenting their First Year Paper. Students present their First Year Paper during the End of Year Conference. During a 15-minute presentation, students explain the theoretical background of their research questions and hypotheses, their study design, and the analyses that were performed. They also report the results and explain the conclusion of their First Year Paper. In addition, they should critically reflect on their findings (discuss strengths, limitations, and implications) and answer questions from the audience during the 5-minute discussion after each presentation.
The First Year Paper conference took place on June 3rd, 2021, in a hybrid fashion. Students could join on campus or online, depending on their whereabouts and preferences. This was one of the rare occasions the 1st Year Cohort could come together on campus and it really felt like a proper student experience again! It was a mix of excitement and nervousness, as we were meeting some of our peers and professors for the first time in person since the beginning of the academic year. So I thought I would describe the day for you to give you a glimpse of this event.
The day for most of us started by doing our COVID-19 self-tests at home. It was important to all of us to make sure we were all healthy so we could enjoy this event at the University. The conference lasted from 9:00 until 17:00, with sets of three presentations and breaks in between. The lecture room was big, and it felt almost intimidating after studying and spending a full academic year sitting in a student room, behind a laptop in sweatpants. Even dressing for the event felt exciting, since I missed that element of “normal” everyday life as well.
Some of us came to the University earlier, so we sat down, drank our coffees and exchanged some positive and encouraging words. It felt like we just started university. It was one of those “first day of school” events. Excitement, slight anxiety and nervousness but more than anything happiness that we got a glimpse of what our academic year will hopefully look like come September. Some students studied together before this, and for some this was their first trip to the campus, and it was wonderful meeting people we have been seeing in those small screens on zoom.
We had a longer lunch break in the middle of the day, so we ordered pizza, sat on the grass and enjoyed our meal. Our academic director Yvonne joined us as well, and it was wonderful to chat about topics that were not related to our academic life.
Presentations were amazing, one after another. It was a true testament to all the hard work all of us have put it throughout the second semester. This event gave us a glimpse into what presenting at conferences looks like. Also, it tested our abilities to condense four months of hard work in 15 minutes of colourful slides and graphics. Further, we received more questions from our fellow students and professors sitting in the (virtual) audience. It really shows all the skills and knowledge we gathered this academic year.
The topics were very diverse, from occupational psychology and HR, lifespan development studies and forensic psychology research. All of it shows, once more that this program offers so much, and us students really have the freedom to choose our field and develop our research abilities.
It was an amazing day, that we wrapped up with some drinks and hanging out, all happy for successfully finishing our presentations and coming closer to wrapping up this challenging yet rewarding academic year.