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Showing posts from May, 2016

Learning to love conferences

Jean Yang, Nadia Polikarpova, and Shachar Itzhaky recently put together a post giving advice to a first-time academic conference-goer. Looking at this advice from where I am now, as a semi-experienced academic with several conference communities I really love to be around, the advice resonates with me, to an extent: if I prepare well, a conference can be a great opportunity to extend the breadth of my network and find new collaboration opportunities.

But careful preparation and bold approaches of strangers were not, by a long shot, how I learned to enjoy conferences. And enjoyment was, for me, a crucial step to being good at them. I don't want to say you have to enjoy conferences in order to be good at them, but, since they are primarily social & emotional labor, sincerely enjoying yourself will make the job easier.

Personally, when I first received advice like Jean et al.'s as a new grad student, I had very bad experiences. I went in believing that I was all but disallowe…