Friday, October 23, 2009

October… You nefarious month…

October this year has been crazy.  I was at GLMA at the beginning of the month, the Point Foundation Regional Leadership Conference last weekend, and am now at the Annual Conference of the North American Association of Computational Social and Organizational Sciences.  (As an aside, I think social sciences folks like really, really long acronyms.  You will recall that I attended NCPSSSH last year – the National Conference of Physician Scholars in the Social Sciences and Humanities…)  As much as I love to travel, this is crazy – 3/5 is not an appropriate fraction to represent the number of weekends I’ve traveled in a given month.  It should be at most 2/5 or 1/4.  In the middle of the semester that’s even pushing it, as I’ve learned.  And yet, here we are.

On the positive side, the conference has included some interesting speakers, and the weather is amazing.  It’s currently about 75-80 degrees here, and the sun is shining.  Not to rub it in the faces of those of you in Michigan, but I happen to know that it’s raining and cold there.  Take solace in the fact that you are seeing the height of the beautiful fall colors and here all of the trees are plain old boring green. 

I think conference attendance is an art.  It requires a number of critical skills, including abilities to:

1. determine ahead of time which sessions will be well done and which ones will be presentations of the authors’ previous night’s rambling.

2. apply disparate research and theory presentations to your own life and work.

3. network efficiently, even with sometimes socially awkward academics.

I’m working on all of these skills, as well as on finishing a last minute presentation myself for tomorrow morning.  Wish me luck.

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