Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

Conference-ing 101

Hi all, I hope you are well, safe, and healthy. 

Due to the present circumstances, I am currently working and studying from home as most of you are as well. This means that two of my upcoming professional development (aka conferences) events are cancelled. I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty bummed.

I love going to conferences. Why? Well, the high of attending of course. You must be thinking, what in the world is a conference high? A conference high is what I call the tired, but exhilarated and pumped feeling during and after attending a conference. While I have not polled every single conference attendee, most people I talk to say that they have a sense of renewing one’s love of the field after attending a conference. While at a conference you get to meet/catch up with the colleagues you met thanks to my last post who live far away from you. If you are part of an affinity group, especially from marginalized communities, conferences provide the perfect setting for an impromptu support meeting or outing. It’s always nice to remember that you are not alone in your experiences, whatever they may be.

Since 2018, I’ve attended 6 conferences, not including the two upcoming that were cancelled and online conferences/symposiums/webinars. I’ve also presented at two of these conferences, was going to present at one of the cancelled ones, and had a talk accepted at another one. This is not to say that all conferences have been amazing, some have definitely been better than others, but I always find something enriching to take out of them.

Some of the conferences I’ve attended are local and some have required travel. I’ve traveled to Montreal, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Virginia, New Hampshire, and was going to travel to Chicago and New York. You might be wondering, how does she pay for these? A little secret of mine… I have not paid to attend and travel to any of these conferences. You can get in on this too!

Here’s how:

  • Some associations or regional chapters offer free registration for first time attendees 

  • Discounted rates for students.

  • Travel grants and scholarships

  • Presenter stipends

  • Simmons PDR Funds! In the past, SLIS students received $250 a year to spend on professional development activities.

    • The PDR funds could be used towards association memberships, conferences, seminars, webinars, etc.

In addition to physical conferences, many are now being offered online because of social distancing. Do take advantage of these! The ones I’ve seen advertised are free!

With all that said, let’s go attend a conference together!