by Mariem Radhouani
Photo by: CeMM
Back in April 2022, I had the opportunity to participate in the LBCC Winter school. The 5-day program offered workshops on academic writing and presentation skills in English, 1 on 1 sessions with a writing coach and a wellness coach, as well as an expert talk by an editor. Heading into the final stage of my PhD, this training was undoubtedly the perfect start to tackle the writing of my manuscript and learn more about the publishing process. The application procedure was simple and straightforward and required a CV, letter of motivation and an abstract. Before the start of the program, each participant filled out an intake form to state their expectations and personal goals from the school. This helped the coaches address key points that are relevant to all participants throughout the training.
Once the selection process finalised, I got the chance to spend the week surrounded by the beautiful nature of Lower Austria, along with an exceptional group of 13 other participants, from different fields and career paths.
Most days included interactive workshops, where we learned about the fundamentals of academic writing and were given concrete tools to help achieve our writing goals by renowned writing experts. We then got to directly apply these methods during our solo writing sessions, with the optional support of a writing coach. In the final days of the training, the emphasis was put on how to translate our research findings into a clear and impactful presentation. The main topics we covered throughout the week included the perfect recipe for drafting a manuscript, the most efficient way to communicate our work and how to adapt it to different target audiences. These discussions and personalized input I received significantly helped refine my presentation style, streamline my writing process, and gave me more confidence in undertaking future writing tasks.
A crucial part of the program covered time management, productivity concepts and work-life balance. Therefore, the training schedule was optimised to allow us free time as well as group activities to unwind and help us recharge our batteries. Everyday walks through the scenic surrounding vineyards and yoga sessions were organized and strongly encouraged. Additionally, the finely curated program of this writing retreat and overall organization were outstanding. It created the ideal environment so that each of us could solely focus on our writing projects while enjoying the picturesque Gumpoldskirchen.
Finally, my personal takeaways stemmed greatly from working in pairs and giving each other honest and constructive feedback. We were able to overcome the loneliness of writing knowing all of us were facing similar challenges and supporting each other through it. I still fondly remember the long evening discussions, dinners, fun activities we shared and how quickly we formed a tight-knit group. So, I would most definitely recommend the LBCC winter school. I believe it is a unique opportunity that all PhD students and postdocs, regardless of their career stage, could benefit from.
Are you interested in following in Mariem's footsteps?
If you would like to take part in one of our advanced training programs, such as the LBCC Winter School, please visit our intranet page for advanced trainings for Ph.D. students at this link. Next, talk to your supervisor if you have found a training course that interests you, so that you can apply for it.