Recently, I attended the American Educational Research Associations’ 2018 conference, which was held in NYC this year April 13-17. This is my second time at AERA, but the first time that I’ve ever attended a conference that was in my city. This conference experience had a much different vibe, and I wasn’t nearly as engaged as I would have been because my normal life was still in progress. I did manage to make it to one talk, a mentoring session, two coffee dates with colleagues/mentors and of course my own symposium. I would have liked to do more, but that’s always the case. My goal at every conference is to make at least one professional contact, and I did that. Despite it being apparently the largest in the world, I always find that AERA is extremely welcoming and inclusive.
For better or worse, I often judge the quality of my presentation on the type of engagement I get from the audience. This is faulty because 1) I have NO idea who these people are and what there connection is to the topic 2) Unless they are giving me funding to do research or are responsible for publishing my article, they shouldn’t matter. All that being said, I got really great questions! People were engaged and seemed really interested in my work as opposed to ruthlessly picking it apart.
Academia is like being on a hamster wheel, so I’m already thinking about how I want to be involved next year. Next year, I plan to help review submissions as a way to better understand how the acceptance process works. I also want to do a poster session instead of giving a talk. Hopefully, this will be somewhat less stressful and I can also use the poster at other conferences as well. Applications for 2019 are due soon….yikes.
Have you all been to any conferences lately? How did things go? How are you managing school along with your these elected professional development events?