I presented at my first academic conference this month with my good friend, Becka. We had a good time, and I’m glad we went together. I’m pretty sure I would have been lonely if I’d been there all by myself. Here are things I learned:
-If you’re open to networking, it’s not too hard. I’m not naturally good at it, but was still able to have some real and authentic conversations with several people. Two of those conversations will likely benefit me and my institution in the future.
-Some academics are awesome people just like me! Others are not necessarily. Some are kind of mean and very proud of how much they know. It’s ok to be brilliant, but I don’t think it’s necessary to purposely make other people feel not as smart.
-Some super smart people like to hear themselves talk about the topic they are very smart about. For me, I want whatever talk I ever give to have a purpose; to make people think and reflect and push themselves. I don’t want people to just sit, listen, and say, wow, she’s smart.
-Read more about the institution promoting the conference before you arrive. Just because they accepted your paper does not necessarily mean that your presentation will go with the institution itself or the theme of the conference. Otherwise you’ll be like us and tweaking things last minute.
-Bring enough books or work for down time. I finished my one book and then was looking for things to read. It was very sad.
-Think about meals when you plan your flights. Planes don’t feed you very much anymore, and if you don’t plan carefully, you’ll find yourself surviving off of nuts and snack bars.